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2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Jared Butler

Jared Butler is a project, but his development could pay off with his key NBA skill.

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NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Jared Butler, Guard, Baylor University

  • 2019-2020 Season: 30 games played, 16.0 PPG, 3.1 AST, 1.6 steals, 42.1% FG, and 38.1 3PT%
  • Career Accolades: Two-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection, All-Big 12 honorable mention as freshman in 2018-19, Consensus top-100 national recruit, ranked as high as No. 75 nationally in 2018 class.
  • Advanced Statistical Strengths: Def Rating (92.1), Proj NBA 3P% (38%), Steals (1.6)
  • Advanced Statistical Weaknesses: Assists (3.1), Fouls (2.5), FG% (42.1), Off Win Shares (.110)
  • Big Board Placements: Tankathon (51st), ESPN (42nd)

Standing at 6’3 out of the University of Baylor, Jared Butler is categorized as a project in the 2020 NBA Draft. Leading Baylor to one of their best seasons in program history, Butler looks to silence the critics.

Many predicted Butler to come back for his junior season at Baylor next season, but declared for the NBA Draft at the last second . While you could have a solid argument for why Jared should’ve remained at Baylor for one more season, Butler has bet on himself with his decision to join the NBA. With the Memphis Grizzlies holding a late second round pick, could Memphis snag Butler for an already deep bench unit?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 29 Baylor at TCU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you look past his size, and look at what Butler could bring to an NBA team in a year or two, you should be excited. He’s a solid one-on-one offensive guy that can shoot the ball from deep. Shooting 38% from three last season, Butler was excellent as Baylor’s top guy.

Butler was able to create off of his own teammates, while also taking the ball to the hoop when needed. A lot of Butler’s ‘weaknesses’ came from trying to create as ‘the guy’ for Butler and forcing the issue too much. Baylor went on a 23-game winning streak (6 ranked opponents), including a huge win against number three Kansas, a game in which Butler dropped 22 points.

Kansas v Baylor Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Weaknesses

The obvious answer will be Butler’s size at the guard spot. For Butler, who ran a combo guard position at Baylor - where does he fit? Just looking from afar, Butler will have to adjust to the point guard position, where the game runs much faster. That is why Butler will be a project in year one, and possibly in year two of his NBA career. He’ll need to learn the position and bulk up for NBA minutes.

Defense is another thing that can be a weakness for Butler. At his size, when you throw into account the size of NBA guards, his defense doesn’t translate. He isn’t a switchable guard, but that doesn’t necessarily count his defensive abilities out.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 03 Baylor at Kansas State Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Strengths

Heading over to Butler’s strengths, you can start with his excellent three-point shooting. Creating his own shot goes hand-in-hand with his shooting percentages from deep. Butler faced double teams all season, and still managed to drop 16 points per game, while keeping his three point percentage at 38%. One strength he will carry into the NBA will be his versatile three-point shooting.

Another strength Butler has is his defensive motor. Granted I mentioned his size and weight being a weakness, but if he can sharpen his IQ on the NBA defensive sets, he can be a solid system defender. Averaging 1.6 steals a game is something that wasn’t a fluke. With the addition of weight and scouting, Butler can be a good system defender.

Texas Tech v Baylor Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Verdict

The verdict is out, and I think that if Butler is on the board, Memphis will take a position of need. Memphis will be in search of a big man to add to their bench, but don’t count out Butler potentially being on Memphis’ radar as a long term solution at the backup point guard spot, if Tyus Jones is no longer apart of Memphis’ plans. Like I said, Butler will be a project, but I don’t see Butler getting the time in games with Memphis that he will need to progress into his full potential.

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