At the time of this writing, Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler per 36 minutes is putting up averages of 20 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assist a night on 44/24/83 shooting splits.
Decent numbers, right? Not exactly a superstar’s numbers, right?
But that has never been Jimmy’s MO it’s all the other things that aren’t as flashy as scoring that has Miami sitting pretty currently in the 3rd seed in the tough Eastern Conference.
He is 6th in deflections per game, 4th in loose balls recovered per game, top 10 in steals per game, as well as top 25 in contested treys per game. This isn’t even mentioning his locker room impact as well as his overall leadership value. At this time last year Miami was 24-25 fighting to go .500.
Tomball’s finest isn’t the only reason why Miami is in 3rd seed because Jimmy isn’t the only addition the Miami Heat (shoutout Pat Riley) have made. The pickup of prized rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro has boosted the Heat also the impressive play of other youngsters Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo have improved The Heat’s record to 32-15.
What history tells us
But the question at hand is can Jimmy G. Buckets be numero uno on a team that can make a finals run.
History’s answer to that question is no, not a chance.
The last team to make a finals run that didn’t have a clear cut superstar was the 2004 Detroit Pistons and I’m pretty sure anybody with two eyes will tell you that the league was very different back then.
That team won a title averaging 93.3 points per game!
It’s much harder to defend, slow the ball up and dump it in the post in 2020. Not to mention Butler’s unanticipated decline in clutch time scoring, where as Chauncey Billups on those Pistons made a career out of making big time shots. Outside of Dirk Nowitzki in 2011 and Andre Iguodala in 2015 (Steph Curry was robbed) no Finals MVP has finished outside of the top 5 in regular season MVP voting. Jimmy just doesn’t look like a guy who can lead a team to the promise land.
Butler’s perfect role
Jimmy was a clank clank swish away from the Conference Finals in what I believe is the best role for him.
Clutch time bucket-getter, guard the other team’s best perimeter player, and the 2nd or 3rd option with a certified star or stars to go to war with. Like a less crafty Manu Ginobili that cares about the other side of the floor. When the team is struggling you step up and go show why you get paid the way you do for example game 2 in the 76ers/Raptors series where the team was struggling and he went and scored in bunches and got to the line like a mad man.
Every team needs that guy who can play exceptional perimeter defense and can score. It was Iguodala was for the Warriors dynasty, Ron Harper for those Bulls teams, James Worthy for the Showtime Lakers, and Dennis Johnson for those 80’s Celtics teams.
That is Jimmy Butler but an upgraded version of those players. Can those players be all-stars by themselves and lead a team crafted around them to the playoffs?
I say yes, but lead them to finals? Uh no, to say the least.
Should Jimmy Butler be an All-Star? Yes, he should be an All-Star starter in my opinion. Will he lead Miami back to the finals? No and I love Jimmy that’s not a knock on him it’s just that he’s not that type of player. He is an overqualified role player.
P.s – If Miami somehow makes the finals I will wear a Jimmy Butler jersey for 2 weeks straight.