For the past three years, we've seen the impact John Wall has made in reviving the careers of Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza, but it's taken an interesting turn this season with Rasual Butler. Since his blistering start to the season, he's gone to shoot just 34 percent from three, which doesn't even reach his career averages, much less the league-average.
It's all apart of this bench-wide malaise that's spread like wildfire since the new year (Kris Humphries notwithstanding). His season splits are astounding.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com's stats page
But this isn't a bench-related issue as is the case with Andre Miller. And unlike Miller, his role hasn't changed, nor has his playing time dwindled. He isn't suffering from any debilitating injuries like Bradley Beal, nor is he hobbled by any previous one's like Martell Webster.
Ask someone to explain his downfall, and it's likely they bring up a "regression to the mean," which isn't outlandish in the least bit. It's only been three years since he got cut from a lowly Raptors team midway through a lottery-bound season, which would then be proceeded by appearances in the D-League and Summer League. And he wasn't some lights out shooter to begin with; he's had just one season in which he's shot 40 percent or better from three on more than two attempts, and that was over 11 years ago.
So yes, a regression was inevitable. But this much despite being in a heavy drive-and-kick attack on offense? Not to mention, he's largely taking the same shots -- be it pull-ups, catch-and-shoots, or as part of his drive to the rim -- at just about the same frequency as he was to start the year.
This is simply the cost of stocking your bench with veteran talent. The front office proved it's effectiveness come playoff time last year, but the circumstances were highly unusual. All three of their main bench cogs had sat out most of the year, which is wholly different from this year where the roster is mostly set and their veterans are tasked with actually surviving a full 82-game schedule. They're going through the motions now, and it's become blatantly clear through the play of Miller, Butler, and to a lesser degree, Drew Gooden.
Could things change? Of course, all it takes is breaking out of this rut, and if Butler continues to see the same looks, there's a chance he may. But it's not a given, and if the last five years of his career means anything, he cards are stacked against him. We'll find out whether the first two months were just an aberration or not.