Jared Butler is having a good 2021. He led Baylor to a National Championship in April and is a potential first-round NBA Draft pick in July.
Jared Butler is one of two Baylor guards who is destined to be a first-round draft pick this year. Although Davion Mitchell is projected to go a bit higher than his former teammate, Butler has the talent and makeup to be an immediate impact player.
Butler is all over the place in mock drafts. He was recently cleared by the NBA’s fitness-to-play panel and will likely wind up in the bottom half of the first round. It just so happens that the New York Knicks have two picks in that range.
has unanimously confirmed my fitness to play in the NBA. Now, my focus is entirely on the Draft and working daily to prepare myself to fulfill my lifelong dream !!
— Jared Butler (@J_Hooper11) July 17, 2021
Butler was a dynamic threat out of the pick-and-roll for Baylor. He has the shooting stroke to punish defenders who go under the screen. When the jumper isn’t there, Butler has the vision and passing ability to make the right pass. The Baylor product has a great handle which he uses that handle to manipulate defenses off of the pick-and-roll.
Although Butler is a threat out of the pick-and-roll with the ball in his hands, he’s just as dangerous as a spot-up shooter. He’s capable of playing alongside a ball-dominant player because of his ability to knock down threes.
This off-ball capability is why Butler should be considered more of a combo guard rather than a pure point guard.
When it comes to defense, Butler is excellent at the point of attack. What he might lack in size and length, he makes up for it with a high defensive IQ and natural instincts. His lateral quickness allows him to keep his man in front of him.
Butler picks and chooses his opportunities well as a defender. He rarely gambles for the “home run” steal. Instead, he waits for the right opportunity to dig for steals and deflections.
Butler has a readymade skillset to become a combo guard on a second unit, but he needs to improve his finishing to hit his ceiling. He’s a great shooter and passer, but if he struggles to finish at the rim, teams will just funnel him into rim protectors.
Butler tends to rely heavily on floaters and finesse moves in the paint. This means he doesn’t go to the free-throw line very often (2.6 FT attempts per game in college). The Baylor product also needs to convert on his free throws when he does draw contact. He was a 78% free throw shooter in college.
Right now, Butler appears to be a one-position defender. If we are being generous, he should be able to match up with some shooting guards. That lack of defensive versatility is tough to overcome in today’s switch-heavy NBA style.
Butler’s lack of defensive versatility limits who can play alongside him in the backcourt. Offensively, he could synergize well with almost anyone. The defense is a different story.
Fit With the Knicks
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Butler is a combo guard. Sure, he played off the ball at times in college, but he is a floor general in every sense of the word. There is no denying his impact in the NCAA Tournament this year. The Most Outstanding Player was calm, cool, and collected every step of the way.
Although his size and lack of defensive versatility pigeonhole Butler into a very specific role, he’s going to be capable of the task at hand. Butler could develop into a starting point guard at some point, but he’s ready to make an immediate impact as a second-unit point guard.
Whether or not he fits in with New York’s plan remains to be seen. If the Knicks decide to re-sign Derrick Rose and pair him with Immanuel Quickley on the second unit, that doesn’t leave much room for Butler.