The Spurs have decided to take a smart, calculated risk on Da’Sean Butler, and have signed the free agent forward, reports Hoopsworld’s Alex Kennedy on twitter.
Just a year ago Butler was leading West Virginia into the NCAA Final Four — where he blew out his ACL against Duke. Teams are leery of guys coming off surgery so the certain first-round pick fell to second round where the Miami drafted him No. 42 overall. They gave him guaranteed money.
But in October, as he was slow to bounce back from the surgery and the Heat were looking to add depth to their roster they waived him. Butler continued his rehab on his own.
Just days ago he was cleared for on-court workouts.
Now the Spurs have picked him up. Teams make this move at this time of year, grab a prospect to fill out the roster spot, use him as an extra body in practice and see how well he fits in with the team. Basically, it’s a baseball-style call up and the Spurs can decide after that if they want to keep him around or not.
We likely will not see Butler in any Spurs games, he was placed on the inactive list by the Spurs as he continues his recovery. But the Spurs will be evaluating and they have a track record of finding guys like this that fit what they want to do and it working out very well for them.
West Virginia star forward Da’Sean Butler tore his ACL during West Virginia’s loss to Duke in the Final Four. That’s typically a bad thing for your draft prospects.
It seems there’s going to be a litany of picks coming off injuries during the draft, which could make it difficult for teams to get a read on them, and forcing many of them to lower spots based simply on a lack of knowledge.
Injuries like Butler’s force teams to make evaluations on players without full workouts. While scouting departments and film will tell them the majority, there’s still a comfort in seeing what the boy can or can’t do. Likewise, it presents the uneasy question of if this is an injury that touches off more problems for the player.
This is where the importance of the D-League comes into play. Were the D-League better developed to manage injuries, Butler could be drafted, sent down to an affiliate, and eased into play. That long-term approach would help Butler get drafted, since he clearly has quite a bit of skill, even if Draft Express is right and his ceiling is a second rounder.
Instead, Butler will have to hope a team is willing to take a chance on him despite a significant injury or risk, not being drafted at all.
And yet he still has a better chance than any player in the championship game, save for Gordon Hayward of Butler, a virtual lock to follow in the footsteps of such great players as Travis Diener and Joe Alexander.