Frank Vogel and the Indiana Pacers are off to an impressive 20-3 start to the 2013-14 NBA season, but have had some issues with the backup shooting guard/small forward position. They’ve been experimenting with a few different guys including Solomon Hill, Orlando Johnson and Chris Copeland. None of the three have really earned the spot, so Vogel decided to give veteran Rasual Butler a chance on Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Butler may be getting up there in age, but in his first game with significant minutes, he really showed up for the Pacers.
He was brought in this season to mainly be a veteran leader in the locker room — kind of like Juwan Howard did in the past for the Miami Heat — but was given more than garbage minutes on Friday night, and it might pay dividends in the future. In 24 minutes, Butler shot 3-of-5 and tallied eight points, two blocks, one rebound, and one assist.
Don’t forget Butler played more minutes in this game alone than he did in the rest of the season combined (15 minutes before Friday night) and that he was playing on 34-year old legs, so he wasn’t exactly in game shape.
Butler played better on Friday night than anyone at that backup 2-3 position has all season, and will definitely keep getting minutes until he starts slowing down in production, which hopefully doesn’t happen. Butler really hasn’t made much of an impact in his 10 years in the league and has basically sat and watched Indiana jump ahead of competition early on in the season, so it’s nice to see him get in on the fun.
Hopefully Butler keeps playing well off the Pacers’ bench and provides the scoring boost they’ve needed up to this point.