Is Rasual Butler the D-League's Most Ready Player to Contribute to an NBA Team?

Kevin C. Cox

Becoming the most recent notable NBA veteran to hit the D-League hardwood, swingman Rasual Butler is now donning a Tulsa 66ers' uniform. After struggling with the Raptors last season, will his recent success in Tulsa be enough to convince an NBA team to take another chance on him?

Most young guns take to the D-League hardwood filled with hope that an NBA team will take notice and be intrigued enough to take a chance on them. In the case of older veterans who look to use the NBADL, if they're lucky, the time spent in the minor league is short. The hope is that they can prove there's enough left in their basketball tank (perhaps following a prolonged absence), and that they can still do enough to contribute to an NBA team.

In both cases, each type of player uses the NBADL as means to strut their stuff because they have something to prove.

But in the case of Rasual Butler, what you see appears to be what you get (for better or worse, that is). A ten year NBA veteran, Butler has served as a long range shooting specialist for a bevy of teams over the last decade. What's more, the swingman played in The Association as recently as last season, even going on to start 14 contests for the Raptors during the lockout-shortened season.

In all fairness, Butler's shooting percentages represented career-lows all across the board last season. Shooting 31% from the field, 27% from deep, and 58% from the charity stripe, it's clear he didn't exactly display the same type of sharp-shooting prowess he's become known for over his time in the NBA.

Still, given his reputation, it's interesting to see a player like Butler end up in the NBA D-League. The veteran joined fellow journeyman Andre Barrett as another player with some recognizable big league experience to sign in the minor league after the Showcase. Instead of first strutting his stuff on the D-League hardwood in Reno in front of plenty of curious executives, Butler subsequently caught on with the Tulsa 66ers afterwards.

To his own credit, Butler has hit the ground running, immediately displaying the ability to fill it up offensively. His role in the NBA as a specialist who can help his team spread the floor may be well-defined by this point, but the swingman has undeniably used the D-League to so far display a newly regained sense of efficiency to his game. After struggling with the Raptors last season, Butler has been able to shine in Tulsa this month, averaging 17 points on 46% from the field and 41% from deep through four contests.

Is it just a coincidence that Butler now dons a 66ers' uniform? Was Tulsa simply next in the D-League's waiver line, or might the Thunder have some interest in the veteran as they inch closer and closer to what's sure to be an interesting playoff run?

What you see may be what you get from a player like Butler, but at least he's been able to use the D-League to prove he can still knock the long bombs down with ease.

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