Rasual Butler's Offensive Efficiency Helps Make the Wizards a Top Team in the East
Following a trip to the conference semifinals last year, there were plenty of people on board believing the Wizards were a strong threat in the East this season. John Wall another year older, the addition of Paul Pierce, bringing back Marcin Gortat, cushioning the front court -- all strong moves pushing this Washington team in the right direction within an otherwise unguarded conference.
But whether irregular hoops fan or die hard Wizards supporter, those same people couldn't have predicted the impressive/influential/[insert positive adjective here] production from 35-year-old journeyman Rasual Butler - the last guy added to Randy Wittman's roster in late October. No one saw it coming, and even Butler's own calmness on the court would insinuate he didn't either.
Despite John Wall's name being a common piece of discussion these days, Butler's 6.4 nERD is second on the team behind only Gortat (7.1), and the 13-year vet who was out of basketball just two years ago is leading the team in multiple categories, including offensive rating (126), three-point field goal percentage (.534), and win shares per 48 minutes (.194) while averaging just over 21 minutes in 20 games.
The floor general doesn't go unnoticed, though. As he's done in the past, Wall has been a master at finding his shooters, and he’s a key factor in the equation that results in Butler seeing more than four feet between he and his defender this season, with an average shot distance of nearly 17.5 feet.
And Butler isn’t just standing out amongst his teammates. Stack him up against other guys (at all positions) this season and you may be surprised. Of players with at least 400 minutes this season, Butler ranks top-10 in offensive rating and true shooting percentage (.682), while posting an 18.9 PER that puts him right in line with guys like Monta Ellis and Kevin Love.
|Player||Ortg (Rank)||3P% (Rank)||TS% (Rank)||WS/48 (Rank)||OBPM (Rank)|
|Butler in 14-15||126 (7)||.534 (6)||.682 (6)||.194 (12)||3.2 (17)|
When the Wizards lost Trevor Ariza to free agency last summer, there was concern regarding who would fill the void on both ends of the floor – an efficient long-range scorer, as well as an effective defender. The Wizards got some of both by signing veteran Paul Pierce, and then received a heaping bonus on offense by making the last-minute decision to add Butler to the squad. He comes in, plays smart, knocks down shots, and stays cool. It's almost a case of blink and you might miss him.
It's still early in the curious case of casual Rasual, but having a savvy and efficient scorer like him coming off the bench is a solid element as to why the Wizards currently sit at second place in the Eastern Conference.