Brian Butch has traveled an unbelievably long and winding road to Utah, where he is participating in preseason training camp with the Jazz.
In search of a professional basketball, Butch has unpacked his bags in China, Greece, Germany, Denver, New Orleans and Bakersfield, Calif.
A 6-foot-11 center from Wisconsin, Butch was also a member of the United States’ team at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Things happen for a reason,” he said Wednesday. “ All I can do is work as hard as I possibly can, be smart and make the most from this opportunity.”
Butch has an intriguing skill-set, including a perimeter jumper that helps him stretch defenses and pull opposing big men away from the basket.
Think Memo Okur.
A former MVP at the NBA Development League All-Star Game, Butch entertained training camp invitations from “a bunch of teams” before deciding on the Jazz.
“The reason we picked Utah was the opportunity that’s here,” he said. “They’ve had a lot of success with stretch bigs, and that’s what I can do.”
Two of Butch’s previous attempts to make an NBA roster ended with injury.
He tore a patella tendon with Denver in 2010. He hurt his other knee in New Orleans just before the start of the lockout-shortened season of 2012. His combined recovery time from those injuries: 18 months.
“It’s been a long road for me,” Butch said, “and that’s the thing. You can handle the ups and downs. But the frustration level of getting hurt — that’s something you have no control over.”
Said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin: “He’s a big guy who can spread the floor. … He’s been around a little while so he knows who he is. He’s a pick-and-pop guy and he’s shown that.”
Watson limited during practice
Veteran point guard Earl Watson continues his recovery from knee surgery on April 17 by participating in “partial practice” during camp.
Watson is on the court until contact work begins. At that point, he heads to the weight room for individual conditioning and rehab work.
Laughing, Watson said, “It’s fun, but I’m working twice as hard, so it’s wearing me out.”
Flopping will cost you
The NBA announced Wednesday it will adopt an anti-flopping rule this season.
“Flops have no place in our game — they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” said vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson.
Players who flop will be subject to a fine system that includes a warning for the first violation, $2,500 for the second violation, $10,000 for the third violation, $15,000 for the fourth violation and $30,000 for the fifth violation.
If a player violates the rule six times or more, he will be subject to further discipline that is “reasonable,” including an increased fine and possible suspension.