The Washington Wizards are signing forward John Butler Jr. to their remaining two-way contract, per The Athletic. He played at Florida State but went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft. He spent last season on a two-way contract with the Portland Trailblazers.
Shams Charania of The Athletic referenced Butler Jr. as a center but I see him more as a wing or forward. Being able to play center long-term might be the best way to unlock his value but he’s going to have to grow into that. Literally.
The Washington Wizards are signing center John Butler Jr. to a two-way NBA deal, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Butler spent part of last season in Portland and went to training camp with the Trail Blazers.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 23, 2023
Butler Jr. is around 7’1 with shoes on but weighed in 175 pounds at the NBA Combine. He appears to have put on about 20 pounds since then but given his slight frame and skill set, I think he’s going to spend more time on the perimeter than on the block.
He played in six G League games last season and averaged 8.3 points, 4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 3.17 blocks. He also made 34.6% of his 4.3 three-point attempts per game. Butler Jr. played in parts of 19 games for the Trailblazers last season as well.
He’s still a real project but he’s the type of project I’m excited to see the Wizards take on with their remaining two-way contract. And not just because I was very high on him during the pre-draft process.
Butler Jr. is a mobile 7-footer who can protect the rim and switch on the perimeter. He also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and stretch the defense. Allowing him to continue to develop in the G League this year makes a lot of sense. Using the remaining two-way on someone with long-term potential, athleticism, and versatility is the right way to go.
Kevin Broom and I discussed Butler Jr.'s pros and cons as a prospect during a 2022 pre-draft podcast if you want some additional information.