Three games into the 2021-2022 season, and we are still waiting for Jazz rookie Jared Butler’s first NBA bucket. It’s only three games, which is not very many, but it’s still a little surprising that we haven’t already seen a 10+ point game out of the Jazz’s first draft selection at the 40th overall pick.
Through three games, it’s bit a little bit of a mix of performance and opportunity that has kept him from getting his first professional bucket. He’s appeared in every game so far, but only logged 13 minutes, and some of those have been in garbage time. In the season opener Butler entered the game in the second quarter and looked a little shook. He caught a pass from a driving Rudy Gobert and had a pretty wide open three-pointer from the corner. Looked good when he released it, but ended up missing the rim by about a foot.
Butler’s first NBA stint was a short one, as he was subbed out after just 90 seconds. Everyone has wondered how Quin Snyder would handle Jared Butler’s minutes. The Jazz are insanely deep. Arguably the deepest team in the league as far as talent goes in positions 1 though 7, and even beyond. We wondered where Snyder would find a fit for Butler in the rotation, and it seemed a little strange that he was yanked after a minute and a half, especially cause he really didn’t do anything bad or stupid. Snyder has a reputation of keeping younger guys on a short leash, but we don’t really need to get into that, right Exum Islanders??
Butler checked back into the game in the fourth quarter when the Jazz were up 20. He doubled his minutes this time, lasting about 180 seconds before being subbed out. During this stretch he missed a couple good looks. He checked back in a final time with a few minutes left for the typical NBA garbage time minutes. This is where I thought we would see him rip off a few buckets and dazzle the way we saw in preseason, but that wasn’t the case. He had a nice step-back move to get a long two, but missed pretty badly.
Butler had a little two-minute stint in the next game against the Kings where he didn’t attempt on a shot. That was all he saw of the floor that night as the Jazz were locked in a close one in Sacramento.
Tuesday night against the Nuggets, Butler saw action early on in the first half. He got the ball and seemed to have a lot of confidence shifting around the defense and showcasing his tight little handle. He made a nice move to get the rim, but missed a pretty open layup.
He picked up two fouls in two minutes, and was subbed right out, not to see the floor again that night.
It’s not really fair to say that Butler has struggled in three games, because little two-minute stints are not enough for a player to find the groove and get going, especially a rookie. However, on a deep team with talent everywhere, you have to be ready to make immediate contributions and earn your minutes right from the start. Hopefully he’s working really hard in practice and doing the right things everywhere else, because it would be a shame to see him land in Quin’s doghouse this early on.
We all saw what Jared Butler can do as a basketball player. This guy can straight-up HOOP. But, like everyone knows, pre-season is much different than the regular season. To stay on the NBA court in today’s league, you have to be a really good basketball player. With a little more opportunity and some time to settle his nerves, I think we see Butler show more of what we saw in the preseason, which will allow him to prove himself as an NBA player and develop right before our eyes.