BROOKLYN, N.Y. (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz made a deal on draft night, and picked up a national champion.
The Jazz traded the 30th overall pick, the final selection in the first round, to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the 40th overall selection and two future second round picks.
With the 40th pick, the Jazz took Jared Butler, from the national champion Baylor Bears.
Butler, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, averaged 16.7 points and 4.8 assists per game last year as a junior. Butler shot 47.1 percent from the field in Baylor’s run to the national title, and made 41.6 percent of his three-point attempts.
Butler was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament, scoring 17 points in the Bears semifinal win over Houston, and 22 points in Baylor’s championship game victory over Gonzaga.
Butler is considered to be a solid perimeter defender, leading the Big-12 in steals last season with 2.0 per game. He is also an excellent passer.
Jazz general manager said Butler will be in town for the Jazz Summer League next week.
“He’s got as good a head start as anyone who’s come into the NBA of late,” Zanik said. “He’s a special, special guy. We’ve followed his career. We have a lot of Baylor ties, so we knew a lot about him.”
Jazz shooting guard Royce O’Neale attended Baylor, as did former Jazz Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey.
“With Jared, the thing that really pops for him is his versatility,” Zanik said. “I’m not sure there isn’t a situation he hasn’t seen at some level.”
Jazz co-owner Dwyane Wade tweeted, “Welcome to the family.”
Butler was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2018, but was medically cleared to play in all three of his collegiate seasons, and by the NBA’s Fitness-To-Play panel in July.
“I am fully healthy and cleared to play in the NBA!” Butler tweeted on July 17th. “Out of an abundance of care, the NBA is incredibly thorough in vetting the health of every player during the pre-Draft process and throughout our careers. I am forever grateful that their comprehensive and strict health analysis has unanimously confirmed my fitness to play in the NBA. Now, my focus is entirely on the Draft and working daily to prepare myself to fulfill my lifelong dream!!”
Memphis used the 30th pick acquired from the Jazz to select Spanish big man Santi Aldama of Loyola.