Overview: The 10th pick in the 2002 draft. Came out after his sophomore year at Connecticut and had some problems establishing himself in the NBA until finally settling in with the Wizards. Most famous for being traded by Los Angeles for former 1st pick Kwame Brown. Butler made the All Star team in 2n and 3rd seasons with Washington. He is quickly becoming one of the pre-eminent small forwards in the game as a two-way threat.
Strengths: Butler's passing and shooting game have each improved substantially over the past few years and have been at their best this season. Butler's overall usage in the offense has increased, partly due to injuries to other teammates, but he's proven to be even more effective with an increased role. Butler has dramatically improved his perimeter game as well, increasing his 3 point accuracy and volume to the point where he is a viable threat, while still maintaining his trademark excellent mid-range jumper. Butler has developed his total floor game to the point where he is a threat to score anywhere on the floor, whether it be in the post, beyond the arc, or off the dribble. His ability to make plays with his passing gives Butler a complete ability to impact the team offense.
Defensively, Butlers size, strength and quickness make him a tough matchup for most small forwards to deal with. He denies dribble penetration very well and uses his body to good effect when trying to disrupt opponent's drives. He's active and aggressive with his hand and foot action on nights when he's feeling challenged, though he isn't 100 percent consistent with it against every player. Butler rarely gets posted by opposing small forwards and has the strength and aptitude to situationally defend some power forwards, which he does on occasion.
Weaknesses: While Butler has improved his shooting efficiency, he's still not as consistent a threat from the perimeter as he needs to be in order to become a true superstar scorer. Surprisingly, Butler's pull-up game off the dribble is his most effective shot. Set shooting from mid-range and beyond the arc should be considered passable, but not his greatest strength. Opponents that protect the drive and challenge the one or two dribble jumper are making the smart play. Butler has a tendency to have some poor shooting games because he will take the shots given to him from the perimeter even if he's not on that night. Its Butler's role in the offense to be aggressive with his shooting, so an improved non-dribble ISO game would really ratchet up his game.
Defensively, there isn't a lot that Butler can't do, especially at the wing, where he is effective against both positions. The main problem Butler has is consistently focusing on shutting down his man nightly. Butler's overall floor stats on the defensive side of the ball are rather pedestrian overall. When Butler is focused on a key matchup he can be tenacious, but it isn't always the case. The fact that wing counterpart DeShawn Stevenson typically takes the best opposing wing also feeds into this as Butler will sometimes range around more on defense as a help man and allow some easier off-ball scoring from his primary assignment. It should be noted that Washington's interior defense is more limited with interior help when Antawn Jamison is manning the 4, so team defense also contributes to the problem.