Wizards

Wizards hold pre-draft interview with Baylor guard

Wizards

Baylor guard Jared Butler, one of the best players on their 2020-21 national championship team, said he interviewed with the Washington Wizards at last week's NBA Draft combine, as the Wizards continue to evaluate options in the first and second round.

Butler is a projected late first-round pick or early second-round pick, and thus is currently not in the Wizards' range. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and do not have a second round selection, though they could still acquire one as they have in each of the past two years.

Butler, who measured 6-foot-4 at the combine, compares his game to Kyle Lowry and Jrue Holiday because he can play on and off the ball. He also spoke with the Knicks, Thunder, Bulls, Rockets and Kings.

"It's almost like a job convention and I'm interviewing for my next job. It's very professional and highly competitive, for sure, especially around all these great athletes," Butler said.

Butler would make sense for the Wizards because he would bring scrappy perimeter defense and outside shooting, two of their biggest needs. He averaged 16.7 points and 2.0 steals per game for Baylor last season while shooting 41.6% from three on 6.2 attempts per game. 

Butler was an All-American and made Big-12 All-Defense. He averaged 15.5 points per game during Baylor's NCAA Tournament run.

"Winning a national championship helps. I know how to win and be in big moments," Butler said.

One question for Butler, however, is his health as he did not participate in drills at the combine due to an undisclosed issue. He did not go into details when asked about it by the media.

 

If the Wizards found a way to draft Butler, he could fill a similar role to the one Raul Neto played last season. Neto played multiple positions on the perimeter while consistently providing effort on the defensive end and accurate three-point shooting. Neto had a career year as he heads into free agency likely due for a raise, which means the Wizards may have to replace his production one way or another.

Butler would give them a battle-tested defensive guard who could help sooner than later, given he played three years in college and turns 21 before the 2020-21 season begins.