The leading scorer for a 26-4 Baylor team this season, Jared Butler has plenty of impressive offensive tools. The 19-year-old averaged 16 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Like a modern NBA guard, he emphasizes looks at the rim or behind the three-point line, where he attempted 6.7 shots per game and made 38.1 percent.
Butler has a quick, clean release, which is one of the main qualities Brett Brown has said compelled the Sixers to draft Landry Shamet in 2018. He has deep range and is comfortable and confident shooting both off the catch and the dribble.
Butler’s ball handling is fun to watch. He can create space with crossover, spin and between-the-legs moves, and has an intuitive understanding of how to effectively shift gears.
In the pick-and-roll, Butler has shown he can read the defense and make a positive play for himself or a teammate. He should be able to force defenses out of drop coverage and into more aggressive schemes because of his shooting ability. If big men do drop off, he’ll make them pay.
A 3.1/2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio isn’t very good for a guard. Though Butler does appear to have a strong feel for the game, he sometimes forced the action at Baylor.
His size and athleticism are larger concerns. Butler usually has to rely on his handles and shiftiness to beat his man, not his explosiveness. Against longer, quicker NBA defenders, he likely won’t be as effective as a shot creator.
That lack of elite burst and lack of size is relevant with Butler’s defense, too. He moves fine laterally and had 1.6 steals per game, but doesn’t seem to possess the physical tools to be as disruptive in the NBA, or to guard multiple positions well.
You don’t have to strain much to see Butler’s fit with the Sixers. You can clearly imagine him as a small shooting guard looping up to the top of the key and running pick-and-rolls. He could also serve as a backup point guard and provide outside shooting off the bench. That offensive versatility should be appealing.
As we’ve noted many times before, Ben Simmons’ presence means the Sixers can target players like Butler who might not be able to guard more than one position or be exceptional defensively in the NBA.
If Butler remains in the draft, he’s certainly worth looking at with one of the Sixers’ four second-round picks.
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