Oklahoma City Thunder: Promising Caron Butler signing ends in disappointment in playoffs

Caron Butler struggled so much in the postseason that by the time the Thunder faced elimination in Game 6 against San Antonio, he was benched in the biggest game of the year. Butler didn’t play a second. It was a disappointing end to a signing that initially had seemed so promising.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 11, 2014

Caron Butler’s biggest contributions came when we least expected them.

In the regular season.

Brought in three-quarters through the season after agreeing to a buyout with Milwaukee, Butler was supposed to provide veteran leadership, playoff experience, toughness, defense and 3-point shooting. Some of those things he provided. Just not when the Thunder needed them most.

It made the Caron Butler experiment a failed one.

Butler struggled so much in the postseason that by the time the Thunder faced elimination in Game 6 against San Antonio, he was benched in the biggest game of the year. Butler didn’t play a second.

It was a disappointing end to a signing that initially had seemed so promising.

In 18 postseason games, Butler averaged 6.3 points on 32.4 percent shooting, both career lows.

In 22 regular-season games, Butler averaged 9.7 points on 40.9 percent shooting and enjoyed the most accurate 3-point shooting of his career with a 44.1 percent clip.

Who knows what the difference was?

All we know is that the Thunder didn’t expect Butler to labor through such a brutal stretch at such a pivotal point. He was brought in with an eye toward the playoffs, a piece that could potentially help the Thunder get over the hump in its quest for a championship. Instead, Butler’s minutes shrunk before ultimately disappearing in his final act.

Worst of all was how Butler’s presence stunted the growth of integral pieces for the future.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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