People talk about the fall of Agent Zero, how about the fall of Tuff Juice?
Mike Prada of Bullets Forever writes “the” definitive piece on Caron Butler’s 2009-10 season, but with some historical perspective as well. Below I’ve put a great quote from the article, but the whole thing, “Caron Butler was a big part of the problem with the 2009/10 Wizards,” is much longer and is really a must-read.
So what’s the theme of Caron Butler’s season? It’s very hard to function when you’re dogged by resentment and dreams of personal success. Butler has moved on to Dallas, where he’s now shooting more than Dirk Nowitzki and generally wasting possessions like he did in DC. His game has declined with age, sure, much like other 29-year olds who have been as injury-prone as him.
But this is not your typical decline. Much like Kevin Garnett, Butler has declined while kicking and screaming about the wonder days that were. He’s the last person to accept the fact that he isn’t the player he once was. He never figured it out in DC and he doesn’t appear to have figured it out in Dallas. Worse, his decline was accelerated by lingering resentment of his co-star that only grew when that co-star started missing games. That co-star is now on a different team, but Butler still stubbornly pushes on, trying to show he deserved his past status.
And really, this is a story about how precious one’s state of mind is in this game. Butler went from being one of the league’s most unselfish and professional players to one with too big an opinion of himself that resented his teammates. It was a dramatic shift and it couldn’t have happened to a more unexpected guy. If it can happen to Butler, it can happen to anyone.
Want more on Caron?
Below is a excerpt, but head to H-Wood P. for more detailed stats on Caron’s isolation and spot-up offensive chances … and perhaps more importantly, sad face pictures of Brendan Haywood and Shawn Marion and an expletive spouting GIF of Mark Cuban.
Overall, on Butler’s offensive plays that end in FGAs, TOs or FTs, he scored 0.86 PPP in Washington, which ranks 334th, and in Dallas, 0.87 PPP, ranked 318th. Not the Tuff Juice Mark Cuban thought he was bargaining for, but certainly the guy Wizards fans became familiar with this season.
Ironically, in a New York Times Q&A with Howard Beck, Cuban credits Synergy Sports video as one of his best investments. Uh oh.
Finally, Ball Don’t Lie’s Dan Devine has a rundown of post Mavericks-Spurs game four criticisms of Butler. Here’s an excerpt:
Two things: A) Repeatedly taking contested 18-footers off the dribble seems like a flawed definition of “very aggressive” and B) That “had to” makes you wonder if Caron suffers from the same affliction as dudes like Antoine Walker, whose unshakable confidence convinces them that, at any given time, they are the best player on the court and should be the one taking the shots.
With the clock winding down and the game on the line, such self-esteem can serve a player well. But as the Mavericks saw last night, it can also put your season on the chopping block.
Not to make it ‘Pick On Caron Butler’ week or anything … I really wish it didn’t have to be this way. But as Tuff Juice once said, after declining to go with Flip Saunders’ play in favor of calling his own number, “Unfortunately it is what it is.”
And if you missed it the first time, here’s a run down of Butler ’09-10 Wizards interview highlights:
Finally, for the hell of it, Wu-Tang’s “Can It Be All So Simple”