In the latest edition of 'P.I. Pulse,' Pro Insight's Aneesh Namburi conducts a deep dive analysis on undefeated Baylor's offensive engine, Jared Butler:
Jared Butler has been one of the better players in college basketball over the past two seasons, and is the offensive leader for the Baylor Bears, one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the country. A potent shooter who possesses an elite handle and has significantly improved his playmaking this season, Butler seems to be a clear cut rotation player, with the upside to turn into a real guard creator in the league. Below is an in-depth scouting report that covers every aspect of his game and how it translates to the NBA, where his strengths lie in addition to potential areas of improvement.
Date of Birth 08/25/2000
Weight 195 lbs.
High: Starting caliber guard creator next to wing initiator. Versatile off-ball threat, with the ability to shoot off movement or from standstill. Proficient in side actions, improves vertical pop+finishing enough to work on-ball consistently. Wins from handle, shooting, and playmaking. Excellent transition player based on speed and decision making. Solid positional defender. High level playmaker off the ball and very good team defender. Can defend opposing guards and smaller wings on the ball, and can switch situationally against big wings, forwards, and bigs.
Median: Low-usage scorer/6th-man type. Versatile off-ball threat, with the ability to shoot off movement or from standstill. Proficient in side actions, can work on-ball actions occasionally against guards based on handle, shooting, and playmaking, but flounders against bigger players who can use their physical tools to contain. Excellent transition player based on speed and decision making. Solid positional defender. Playmaker off the ball. Makes smart rotations. Can defend within position group and occasionally move up to smaller wings, but will need help against 3-5.
Low: Rotation guard. Off-ball scoring threat (standstill+movement). Ability to run some side actions due to handle, pull-up ability, and playmaking. Struggles operating main actions due to limitations getting downhill, strength, vertical explosion. Tougher to get shot off against bigger defenders due to lower release. Excellent transition threat due to speed and decision making. Average positional defender who can create plays off the ball and make smart rotations, but limited to defending within position.
Average to above-average athlete, but has some traits that boost his NBA standing. Butler possesses high-level balance as well as core and lower body strength — this allows him to maintain a low center of gravity. While Butler has definitely added upper body strength onto his frame to better accept contact at the rim, he is still on the skinnier side without much vertical explosion. An improved burst over the off-season has helped him blow by defenders more often in 2020-21, rather than almost solely relying on his handle which can tend to slow down the game. Consequently, he still has a tendency to shy away from contact and resort to finesse/adjustment finishes (which he is very good at, by the way), a big reason why his free throw rate has not taken a leap despite the improvements. Defensively, Butler’s quickness, as well as his lateral mobility and flexibility (in the hip area) allow him to navigate both on and off ball screens and slide with his man, but his size limits him in terms of scaling up to bigger players, despite his best efforts.
Excellent balance + low center of gravity; boosts his advanced handle, gives him better shift; secondarily helps him succeed as an off-ball mover
Excellent core, lower body strength; seems to have the frame to add muscle
Sub-average to average vertical athleticism; in combination with frame, a big reason why he uses many finesse/adjustment finishes and does not get to the FT line often
Improved burst over the off-season, still not great but passable
Solid hip flexibility; Able to navigate around screens on defense; for the most part, lower body is consistently square on movement shots
Butler is one of the more dynamic offensive guards in the draft class, with the ability to provide value in a myriad of roles to NBA teams down the road. The first thing that stands out when watching Butler is his elite handle, which he uses to create space for his jumpers or break down defenses (specifically opposing bigs) in the pick-and-roll. He is able to consistently generate paint touches, but due to his lack of vertical explosion and physicality at the rim, he struggles finishing at the rim. Over this season, Butler has taken a massive leap as a playmaker, quelling concerns of whether he could be a lead guard at the next level. Butler is also a high-level shot maker, possessing a potent jumper both in catch-and-shoot situations as well as off the dribble, which boosts his versatility within NBA lineups.
45/79 within restricted area this season, has made improvements but still somewhere in the range of below-average to average
Possesses great touch, especially on adjustment finishes; helps take away some of the contact aversion, subpar upper body strength