Clippers forward Rasual Butler doesn't believe in vacation
With the NBA exhibition season soon coming to an end, Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy offered a day of rest to forward Rasual Butler for the team's exhibition game Tuesday against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Soon after Butler woke up Tuesday morning, he texted Dunleavy and said he should reconsider.
"It was cool for [Dunleavy] to have the thought, but I still wanted to play," Butler said after his 12-point performance on five-of-eight shooting off the bench in the Clippers' 108-96 victory. "I love to play. I love what I do. I love the game. I didn’t want to just sit over there and not play."
Butler, a seven-year veteran acquired in the off-season along with cash in a trade that sent a conditional second-round 2016 draft pick to the New Orleans Hornets, has started in four of the Clippers' seven exhibition games and is fourth on the team in scoring with 11.9 points per game.
Dunleavy has been most pleased with Butler's versatility at both shooting guard and small forward -- a role the organization envisioned and that was made more urgent with Al Thornton's recent right arm injury.
"He’s done a pretty good job of it," Dunleavy said. "He’s had to defend some guys maybe ordinarily we wouldn’t have had him guard, but he’s shown the ability to do that some. His skills off the dribble and passing the ball have been good for the mix of guys we had in there."
As for Butler, he says the role isn't that much of an adjustment. Butler's 6-foot-7 frame gives him a height advantage to post up against shooting guards. His 6-foot-11 wing span provides even more matchup problems.
Butler's performance last year with the New Orleans Hornets included averages of 11.2 points per game, a 43% mark from the field and a 39% clip from three-point range that provided a dependable shooting option from the perimeter. He has put up similar numbers this preseason, shooting 43% from the field and 33% from three-point range. It's a consistency he says is possible partly because of his refusal to sit out.
"I'm just paying attention to the plays," Butler said. "The 2 and the 3 in Coach Dunleavy’s system pretty much does the same thing. It just depends what side of the floor the ball starts on. It’s not difficult for me because I’ve been a 2 and a 3 all my career. It’s something I can pick up on pretty easy. I’ve been pretty much conditioned to do that since I've come into the league."
-- Mark Medina