Jan 24, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Caron Butler (3) before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers beat the Bucks 93-78. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

How the West Was Won: Caron Butler Going To Thunder

Reports have surfaced that Caron Butler will be signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder as soon as he clears waivers from the Milwaukee Bucks. Butler isn’t having a great year (who is in Milwaukee?) but he will make a major difference for a team that needed a bit of scoring punch.

The stat line doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. Butler is shooting just 38.7 percent from the field, 36.1 percent from the 3-point line and 83.9 percent from the free-throw line. He’s averaging 11 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in his 24.1 minutes per game.

Why does this deal make the Oklahoma City Thunder the Western Conference champs? Butler isn’t getting any younger, but he’s still the kind of guy who scores in bunches. Aside from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder have been looking for a player like Butler to replace James Harden and Kevin Martin.

Don’t forget — Butler dropped 38 (ok it was the Sixers) earlier this season. Then, he scored 30 against Detroit off the bench in January. His last appearance off the bench saw him score 21 with seven rebounds in a win over the Orlando Magic.

As far as defense is concerned, Butler has been holding his own, despite playing on a Bucks team that ranks dead last in defensive rating (109.7). 82games.com shows that Butler has been holding opposing small forwards to an 11.9 PER.

The Thunder are currently 43-15, with a 1.5 game lead over the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Anyone who has been to Chesapeake Energy Arena will tell you it’s one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA.

With that said, the Thunder have dropped three straight since Westbrook’s return. Adding another veteran with the ability to score (and shoot from the outside) should be considered a huge win for coach Scott Brooks and the Thunder. In my mind, it cinches the West.

Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder

comments powered by Disqus