September is upon us which means NBA training camps open soon. That also has teams kicking tires on potential free agent options either for contracts or training camp invites. For example:
Busy day of news/scoops. #Twolves scoop: bringing in FA vets for workouts next week. Among those coming in: Dorell Wright + Rasual Butler.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) September 3, 2016
Rasual Butler was exactly this type of player for the Wizards in 2014. Washington signed the veteran swingman to a non-guarnteed contract on Sept. 22. Training camp began the following week.
At the time, most viewed Butler as likely nothing more than training camp filler with an outside shot of making the opening night roster. Then the Wizards decided they liked his outside shot, not to mention NBA experience. Then Bradley Beal missed the opening nine games with an injury and Glen Rice Jr. wasn't ready to contribute and Otto Porter's game needed more seasoning.
Butler didn't play in four of the first five games. He recevived 15 minutes in the sixth and basically never left the rotation for the remainder of the season. There were times, especially during the opening two months, where Butler's perimeter shot carried the offense for minutes or maybe a quarter or half. Nobody saw it coming, but that team, one that eventually reached the Eastern Conference semifinals, needed the player who was initially viewed as just training camp help. Butler averaged 7.7 points and 20 minutes over 75 games while shooting 39% on 3-pointers.
The current Wizards have 12 players on guaranteed contracts and another two (Jarell Edde and Danuel House) who seem likely to stick. Other names expected in camp (Daniel Ochefu, Shelden McClellan) are familiar to those who watched Washington in the NBA Summer League. College basketball fans might remember another of those joining the mix, point guard Casper Ware. Other names will surface over the next week or two as the Wizards add more players either for camp help or perhaps a real shot at what might be one open spot. When that happens, perhaps give some consideration to this player, take a quick look at his background and potential fit. You never know who might end up helping a team reach the playoffs.
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