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Saturday August 23, 2008 3:09 pm

Dropping Dimes Mock Draft: Round 1, Pick 9 - Caron Butler

Caron Butler Scoring?  Check.  Hustle stats?  Check.  Year-over-year improvement since 2003?  You got it.

One of fantasy’s most underrated players over the last handful of years has finally made the jump into the first round.  Sure, his position isn’t exactly a rarity, but you can no longer turn a cheek at the production that we have seen, and continue to see from the man they call “Tough Juice.” 

Caron Butler, SF, Washington Wizards

We venture into a dangerous territory with Butler.  He’s one of three main scoring options on his team.  He plays with a shoot-first point guard that is no stranger to taking the game into his own hands towards the late minutes.  And as mentioned above, the small forward slot isn’t an ideal one to fill at this stage in the draft.

But when you have a guy that averaged 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals with some of the better percentages in the game, you’re getting a poor-man’s LeBron James with a draft selection that is considerably later in the round.  Will he ever be the 30-points per night guy that you get in James?  Not as long as Gilbert Arenas is still in the D.C. area.  But if you’re willing to give up eight-to-ten points per night for a guy that shot 90 percent from the charity stripe with five attempts per game, then Butler is your answer.

You will have to taper your expectations a bit, as Butler had the fantasy luxury of being the go-to option with Arenas out for most of the year.  Twenty points per game will be tough to match, but there is no reason why he cannot match the 18 and 19 that he put in the prior two seasons respectively. 

And just think…  Butler was traded to Washington with Chucky Atkins for the package of Kwame Brown and Lamar Profit.  Talk about a jackpot.  If Butler is there towards the latter end of the first round or even early second, do not hesitate to make the selection.  You won’t be disappointed.

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