A note of caution regarding Da’Sean Butler


There was a tidbit in Jeff McDonald’s story from a couple days ago about the 2011 NBA Lockout’s first casualty, the Las Vegas Summer League. McDonald was listing players on the Spurs’ roster who could’ve used the cancelled summer league to improve their standing in the organization.

[Da’Sean] Butler, meanwhile, is the wildest of wild cards, having not played in an organized game since blowing out his knee in the 2010 Final Four. In short, he’s the kind of guy for whom the Vegas stage was built.

As savvy and low-risk as it was for the Spurs to sign Butler near the end of last season, McDonald’s point is an important one. Da’Sean Butler hasn’t played in a while. A long while.

We often look at every move San Antonio makes through rose-colored glasses. With how many of them have worked out, who can blame us? With Butler, though, we can’t get ahead of ourselves. Counting on Butler to fill any hole in the rotation or offer anything more than comparable production to what Danny Green did last year is asking too much.

If the seasons somehow starts on time in October, it will have been over a year and a half since Butler played in a competitive game. If the schedule begins in January, it will be almost two years. Butler wasn’t near healthy enough to play in last year’s summer league and didn’t appear in a single game last season, D-League or otherwise.

Expecting Butler to solidify the rotation in anyway is asking for the moon. It’s likely that he’ll split much of the season between Austin and San Antonio, assuming the league and the players get this labor situation sorted out.

In a way, this reminds me of how we treat the situation when teams fight to sign recently bought out players after the trade deadline. This past season, the contenders clamored to sign guys like Troy Murphy and Corey Brewer, thinking their contributions would put them over the top. I was disappointed when Brewer signed with the Dallas Mavericks. Brewer and Murphy combined for a total of 26 minutes in the playoffs in seven appearances.

Da’Sean Butler suffered a terrible knee injury in April of 2010. He tore the ACL in his left knee and sprained the MCL. For a player who was considered in college to be a “below average athlete” for his position, losing some of what explosiveness he had to an ACL injury does not forecast well for his long term prospects. While by all accounts he has the work ethic to carve out a long career in the NBA, expecting him to own a place in Gregg Popovich’s rotation in year one is a long shot.

Throw in the fact that there’s no summer league this year and a great chance for both a shortened training camp and preseason, all signs point to the Spurs looking elsewhere for depth help.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Thanks, Andrew. I think you and I are very much on the same page regarding Butler. I think the obstacles in front of him are formidable. But he has a lot of heart, an awful lot. I’ll certainly be rooting for him all the way. And he has made a lot of progress already, as you can see if you follow this link from Project Spurs: 


  • Titletown99030507d

    I don’t pay attention to what McDonald has to say.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I don’t pay attention to what McDonald has to say.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    One thing I neglected to mention in the article is Butler’s confidence in his knee. Butler’s knee may be healed 100%, but until he trusts that it’s healed and is at the point where he doesn’t think about it on the court, Butler’s going to be slow to make an impact.

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  • DorieStreet

    So at best we Spurs are looking at Da’Jean Butler emerging on the other side of the transition (if all goes very well with him regarding his rehab)—when hopefully the foreign drafts picks come over.
    But one can infer from your last paragraph that you think he won’t be around for 2012-13.

  • badger

    Agreed.  You’ve made a very good case for putting him in Austin and seeing how quickly he can give it a shot in the big leagues.  I don’t think very many were counting on anything from him anyway.  It’ll be far more interesting to see if the lockout hinders Splitter, Anderson, and now Leonard.

  • Charlottepac

    Still a great move for the Spurs. If he becomes a Danny Green what did they lose? If he can show enough to make the roster for opening day it was a win.

  • Charlottepac

    Still a great move for the Spurs. If he becomes a Danny Green what did they lose? If he can show enough to make the roster for opening day it was a win.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    I wouldn’t say that I expect Butler to be gone by then, I just think that his ceiling has been lowered significantly with the knee injury.

  • Len

    Butler is the kind of story the Spurs FO gravitates to.  Butler may have lost some of his limited athleticism but honestly, so what?  The Spurs have NEVER gone for the best athletes.  They go for character/intangible players.  Butler can certainly still become one of those.

  • Bruno

    Ryan Richards scored 28 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assist, 4 blocks on European sub 20 tournament yesterday

  • DorieStreet

    So—what are we looking at people:

    2012-13 roster for our San Antonio Spurs
    Anderson, Bertans, (maybe) Blair, (maybe) Butler, De Colo, Green, Hanga, Joseph,Leonard, Lorbek, Neal, Richards, Splitter, along with a FA PF &  C.

    Plus Frenchie and the Gaucho to school them in how to recapture the championship way.

  • ZeusVizzle

    Well when Timmy is off the books, expect us to also bring in Dwight Howard (ultimate pipe dream — so don’t kill my trip and just go along with it).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LUYZ4QOKKBF2L3WACA5ZLQDBNU R Photography

    I think the Euroleague is exactly what the kind of stage that was built for Butler.  And if the lockout continues, as it looks like it will, he’ll have some NBA company to play against. 

  • ZeusVizzle

    Its going to be awfully hard for Butler to get minutes behind Kawhi, especially when Kawhi does this:


    Check out from 2:26 to 2:50. Tommy likey.

  • http://twitter.com/keysoftheraw J Y

    I really hope Butler heals up and makesi t some day. He made an insane # of last second shots for west Virginia last ear, loved him……….http://yodabillclintonwillferrellmarkzuckerbergmichaeljordan.com/2011/07/18/nba-players-and-the-wire-characters-lebron-james-and-cheese-wagstaff/

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