The New Orleans Pelicans may have found another un-drafted gem

New Orleans Pelicans forward John Butler Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans forward John Butler Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans finished their Summer League on a high note, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder with a group of players battling to get into the NBA.

The Pelicans were able to find an un-drafted gem last season in Jose Alvarado and are hoping to to the same this year.

There were some standouts in Summer League, but if you watched the last game, no one was more noticeable than John Butler, a 7-foot-1 stretch four who shot a perfect 9-of-9 including all six of his 3-point attempts.

Butler finished the game with 25 points, seven rebounds and a block and the 19-year-old was certainly turning some heads in the gym.

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So who is this tall, skinny shooter who lit up the gym in Las Vegas, and does he have a chance to be the Pelicans’ next find in the un-drafted pool?

New Orleans Pelicans: John Butler has high-upside talent

Whenever you have a 7-foot-1 stroking 3-point shots in a gym, people are going to pay attention. John Butler is tall and can wow with his shooting, but he’s also skinny, like skinnier than Chet Holmgren skinny.

He definitely profiles more as a hybrid forward, and he can stretch the floor, as he shot over 39 percent from 3-point range in his one season at Florida State.

He probably should have stayed in school for another year, as he only averaged 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds to go along with 1.2 blocks in 19 minutes per game and needs to put on more size. He is inefficient around the rim, can’t shoot free throws and I think just about every player in the NBA could push him around in the post.

But his offensive upside is intriguing, as we saw in the final Summer League game, where he was not only knocking down 3-point shots, but flashed some potential off the bounce.

You don’t see many 7-footers hitting pull up mid-range shots off the bounce, so Butler has the chance to be a formidable offensive weapon with that kind of shooting.

But can he do anything else? He obviously has to put on strength, as I am not sure who he is going to guard in the NBA. He has potential as a weak side shot blocker for sure, but can he stay in front of forwards? Can he even slow down a full-grown NBA center?

It’s worth finding out, as 7-footers who can shoot don’t grow on trees, so it will be interesting to see what the New Orleans Pelicans do with Butler, if he is able to get a two-way contract, head to the G-League or get picked up by another team.

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