We sit here in an NBA hiatus missing the game and wondering when it’s going to come back. What we don’t realize is that players are built differently. Think about this for a second … If everyone shared the same mind set and outlook on the game like Jimmy Butler, chills would run down my spine.
Butler is known for his “tell it like it is” attitude and many disagree. Why? Because he’s outspoken? Wants the best for himself and his team? Everyone views him as an “asshole“, but all I see is a player who wants to be the best he can be and be of value to his team and organization. After spending six years in Chicago made a lot of people think that Butler was the next franchise centerpiece when Rose left and ultimately thought the Bulls would prevail with offense centered around Butler, but they chose a different direction as the Bulls traded Butler and their 16th pick for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh pick.
Butler was comfortable in Chicago and loved the system under Tom Thibodeau who coached the Bulls from 2010-2015. Needless to say after he was dealt to Minnesota he experienced some growing pains. Butler’s been used to a “work hard” type of environment where there’s no excuses for a poor work ethic but he didn’t get that with Minnesota. A bunch of young arrogant talent in his eyes and when he spoke up people didn’t agree.
One thing many fail to understand is that Butler isn’t afraid to call out people. That’s what happened in Minnesota where he called out The majority of the team which led to total chaos.
I can understand where he’s coming from because of the way everything ended. It takes a lot of courage to stand alone on doing the right thing, but at the end of the day all he wanted to do is win and work hard. Something you would dream of in a player.
On the contrary, the same issues followed him to Philly. Via the JJ Redick Podcast, Butler explains how nothing was ever done behind the scenes in Philly. Where people were scared to step up and be that “bad guy” as Butler mentioned many times. This opens up a much bigger issue. Is Butler looked at as a radical these days because it isn’t the norm to speak your mind behind closed doors? I mean many people do in front of cameras, but how much of that is actually true?
Even though he made a deeper run with Philly he still expressed the same conflicts, but in a different light. Minnesota was more of an arrogant, young core who never knew what the playoffs tasted like and Philly is more of a young, inexperienced, and immature group who can’t get over that hump. Essentially the 76ers are the modern day Clippers without the slogans.
For me, Philly needed Butler. Especially in the locker room. His mindset, attention to detail, and the overall willingness to better himself on and off the court are qualities I think every player in the NBA should mirror. After the shot by Leonard (that eliminated the Sixers from the playoffs) the first question that popped in my mind was, “ will Butler return next season”?
When Butler got to Miami it was the perfect fit. Miami has always been a beautifully run franchise and Pat Riley puts a lot of emphasis on winning now and ability to get out and work hard everyday. Butler fell right in line. The Heat have the fourth best record in the East (41-24) and Butler is averaging 20.2 ppg 6.6 rpg and 6.1 apg his best season he’s had in awhile and career highs in assists and rebounds.
Eight guys averaging double digits, a solid core of well-rounded players, and a seasoned vet in Andre Iguodala; their deep playoff run doesn’t seem like a reach. Before Butler got there the Heat finished with a 39-43 record, the ball wasn’t moving around, and the uncertainty of where Whiteside would go wasn’t helping. Since then the Heat have surpassed last year’s win total (41), gutted nearly their whole roster, brought in Butler, Herro, Iggy, Nunn, Crowder, and Meyers, and have been on a tear up until the hiatus.
The Heat needed a leader and they found one in Butler