On Monday night, the Mad Ants acquired quite the polarizing figure in former NBA D-League All-Star Game M.V.P. Brian Butch.
The longtime Bakersfield Jam center is headed to Fort Wayne, the team announced, in exchange for the Mad Ants' 2014 second round draft pick, in addition to the returning player rights of Anthony Richardson.
Should this trade be judged solely by proven results (rather than the possible impact of Richardson and/or that of a potential future draft pick), color this a huge victory by Fort Wayne. Brian is not only a well known D-League commodity, but also a nightly double-double candidate. What you see is what you get from the veteran, one of the most consistent big men in all of the minor league.
Having said, despite his reputation to pour in the points and grab the boards with ease, Butch's numbers have seen a surprising decline over the last couple of weeks.
Butch is a solid center and a steady performer at that. There's no denying that at all. Still, his age is likely something that deters NBA teams from granting him another look. One has to wonder if Butch's best days are behind him. He may indeed continue to produce at the same level, even now, but if what he's shown NBA decision-makers hasn't been good enough up until this point, when might it ever be?
Time is not something that's not necessarily on Butch's side.
Still, if his time is (still) right now, then the Mad Ants have acquired an incredibly valuable asset in anticipation of what promises to be a worthwhile playoff run for Fort Wayne. Butch's NBA ceiling may not be towering too hightly at this point, but that doesn't hurt his ability to make a positive impact for both ends of the floor for the Mad Ants in the least.
There's still something to be said about proven results and experience, especially when it comes to a team competing at a high level in the NBADL.
Perhaps a change of scenery is just what Butch needs to provide him that extra boost necessary to prove his worth all over again, while helping the Mad Ants achieve something special in the process.