One of Stan Van Gundy's initial signings, Caron Butler was brought in to provide leadership and shooting, and despite an initially frosty reception from the fanbase, he outperformed the expectations many had for him. The 35 year-old appeared in 78 contests for the Pistons this season, including 21 starts, he was named the team's captain and knocked down threes to the tune of 37.9%.
Along with Joel Anthony, Butler was one of the main mentors on the team, he'd motivate Brandon Jennings before games, share words of wisdom when things got tough and mentor the team's younger players. Most importantly of all, the 13-year veteran spread Stan Van Gundy's ethos through the locker room, and helped them buy into his coach's vision.
Butler finished the season averaging 5.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game, sporting a shooting slash of .407/.379/.902. One of the more consistent small forwards the team played over the course of the season, the former UConn Husky proved to still have gas in the tank, outplaying Cartier Martin, Luigi Datome, Quincy Miller and at times Kyle Singler. Along with Tayshaun Prince, Butler provided steady offense and defence for a Pistons squad that struggled with consistency.
Detroit holds a team option for the Wisconsin-native's second year valued at $4.5 million, and despite his leadership ability and positive influence on the team's young core, Stan Van Gundy has been non-committal as to the forward's future in Motown. As the veteran explains to MLive's David Mayo, the NBA is a business, and whether or not he is still a Piston come opening night, he is proud of what he achieved in Detroit and to have been able to leave his mark on the team.