2011 NBA Draft: Jimmy Butler Increases His Draft Stock at the PIT

Zach HerringCorrespondent IIApril 9, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 18: Jimmy Butler #33 of the Marquette Golden Eagles dunks the ball against the Xavier Musketeers during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 18, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Jimmy Butler has increased his draft stock with three solid games at the PIT (Portsmouth Invitational Tournament) in Portsmouth, Virginia. Butler is coming off a great senior season at Marquette, where he averaged 15.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

In his first game of the tournament, Butler came out and scored 19 points, shooting 6-11 from the field and dishing out four assists. Butler showed his great basketball IQ, ability to find the open shooter and can score in a variety ways. He showed great ability to drive and had a great dunk in transition. Butler was definitely the standout of day one. He showed the same leadership that helped lead Marquette to the Sweet 16 back in March.

In Butler's second game of the tournament, he showed the same high shooting percentage that he did in Game 1. Butler shot 7-11 from the field, scoring 18 points while grabbing a total of five rebounds. He was able to once again drive past defenders for easy buckets and drained a few mid-range jumpers as well. Butler also exhibited some good defensive skills, blocking two shots.

In the third and final game, the championship, Butler once again came out on a tear, scoring 19 points, dishing out six assists and pulling down five rebounds. Butler went a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line. Because of his great play throughout the tournament, he was named MVP. Butler once again strongly drove to basket throughout the game and also came up big with a clutch three-pointer.

NBA scouts definitely know what Jimmy Butler is capable after three high-quality games, especially after the success another former Marquette star, Wesley Matthews, had in the tournament.

Matthews went undrafted, but was signed by the Utah Jazz, played in all 82 games and started in 48 of them. Matthews signed a five-year, $34 million deal this summer with the Portland Trail Blazers. He is now having a great season, averaging around 16 points per game.

Butler may have greatly increased his great draft stock with the consistent play through the tournament. Currently, Butler is projected as the 57th pick on DraftExpress Mock Draft and is projected as undrafted on NBADraft.net. Other sites like The Hoops Report have Butler projected as the 53rd pick. (Note: These Mock Drafts were made before the PIT.)

His team went 3-0, they won the championship, he was the MVP—it must have increased his draft stock. NBA scouts will definitely remember the name Jimmy Butler on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft.


Jimmy Butler’s Tournament Averages:

18.6 points per game

4.6 rebounds per game

4 assists per game

1.000% free throw (ties a tournament record)

Don't forget to view this article on:

Wisconsin Sports Talk!