The all-time Big East NBA mock draft

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Jalen Brunson
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Jalen Brunson /
11 of 31

Jimmy Butler

SG/SF, Marquette

No. 30 overall pick in 2011

2010-11 Marquette stats (Junior): 15.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists per game (Lost in Sweet 16 to UNC)

We never saw Jimmy Butler coming for a reason. He stood 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, and with subpar athleticism metrics, how were we supposed to see that he was going to become a top-15 NBA player? Well, we did know about his work ethic. He was a tireless worker at Marquette, a player who knew exactly what his limitations were and how to play to his strengths. That’s been his modus operandi as an NBA player. At Marquette, he was a brilliant team defender, a guy who helped in the pick-and-roll, made quality rotations, and defended up a position when needed. He was a functional ball-handler, able to run a simplified pick-and-roll and find open teammates, even if his handle and vision weren’t what they are today. He was a great rebounder for a three, which translated. At the very least, Butler was going to be a high-floor player. He basically dropped to No. 30 because he tested poorly athletically at the Combine.

Butler did benefit greatly from landing in Chicago, and that shouldn’t be ignored. He doesn’t become this type of player in any context in the league. But it’s not like Chicago was a uniquely perfect fit for him. This was a guy who was just wired differently, and any team that got buy-in from him and focused on a logical progression for his offensive game would find the same success. Butler might not become today’s Butler if we shipped him to 2017 and the athletic indicators and lack of primary offensive capability keep him here. But it’s safe to say he doesn’t bust out of the league as often as other No. 30 picks might based on what we knew then.