Caron Butler became a Laker during a major transition period. Butler was one of three players sent to Los Angeles in the trade for Shaquille O’Neal. The other two were Lamar Odom and Brian Grant.
Although Butler played alongside Kobe during a rebuilding process in Los Angeles, the current Oklahoma City Thunder forward learned a lot from the eventual five-time champion.
Butler attributes his success with the Washington Wizards to learning from Kobe in Los Angeles, according to an interview he did with The Dallas Morning News:
“I say that’s the best thing that ever could have happened for me personally for my career,” Butler said. “To play alongside a guy like that, see his preparation, see what it takes to get to that level, that’s why I was able to be so good in Washington because I took everything I learned from him under his wing.”
Butler played in 77 games in 2004-05 with the Lakers. He averaged a then career-high (by a tick) 15.5 points and then career-high 5.8 rebounds. His free throw shooting improved, too.
“Work ethic,” Butler said. “He comes to the gym 6:30, 7 in the morning, gets shots every day, a rhythm. Afterward hits the weight room, works out in the summer, studying film, critiquing guys, watching their tendencies, picking things up … Just studying the game with him taught me a lot.”
Butler has bounced around the league quite a bit since his short stint in Los Angeles, but obviously views the time with Kobe as pivotal to his success in the NBA.
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