One of the biggest free-agent signings of 2019 involved Jimmy Butler leaving the Philadelphia 76ers for the Heat. Butler brought instant credibility to Miami’s roster. But one tune the NBA star is singing this season contradicts his actions. Let’s look at Butler’s season so far and how he’s contradicted himself.
Jimmy Butler’s 2019 NBA season
Butler is having a fine season so far for the Heat. Here are the numbers he’s putting up less than halfway through the season:
- 30 games played
- 20.3 points per game
- 6.8 rebounds per game
- 6.6 assists per game
- Shooting 42.4% on field goals
- Shooting 27.6% from the three-point line
- Player Efficiency Rating of 23.3
- Five Win Shares
Butler’s PPG are the highest since his 2017-2018 season in Minnesota when he averaged 22.2 points per game. He took a bit of a backseat in Philadelphia, as scorers load the roster so he didn’t need to do as much. According to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Butler has been an exemplary “max player” in his estimation, according to Uproxx:
“That’s what young players should learn coming into the league of what a max player actually means,” Spoelstra said. “It’s not about stats, it’s not about that final number on the box score, it’s not about whatever 2K numbers you can get. It’s not. It’s about how your team functions and are you winning because of a player.
And there is no debate about this: He’s having an incredible impact on our winning, on our bottom line, and that’s why we chased him so hard as a max player.”
How has Butler’s team fared overall though?
The Miami Heat’s 2019 season so far
The Heat have played very well this year. Through 34 games, they’re 25-9. That’s good for third place in the Eastern Conference. Miami is averaging 111.6 points per game, which is 12th overall in the league. They’re allowing 107.2 points per game, which is also 12th. The consistent team has yet to drop as many as two games in a row.
Even if Butler is not playing like the prototypical player on a max deal, there’s no question that he’s been good for the Heat. The 30-year-old is the face of the franchise now, and they’ve played better basketball since he joined the team.
However, one opinion Butler expressed this season about his time with the Heat doesn’t track with the decision he made this past offseason.
How Jimmy Butler’s words contradict his actions
In a recent game against the Knicks, Butler took only three shots from the field and scored just nine points — shockingly low totals for a player of his caliber. Here’s what he said afterward:
“Everyone is always working on their game, so it’s no surprise,” Butler said. “I’ll shoot zero times if you can guarantee me a win. I’ve never been a person in my career to shoot a lot anyways. Everybody is happy sharing the ball and seeing other guys score. I think that’s a great part of this team. When a guy is open, you have all the confidence in the world that they’re going to make that shot.”
Butler’s comments are nice to hear, but they seem rather curious. After all, he reportedly turned down an offer from the Sixers this past offseason in favor of the Heat. The Sixers seemed to have a more win-now roster than Miami, so if winning was his only concern, he had a funny way of showing it.
Nevertheless, Butler and the Heat are in a top spot right now. They appear to be contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Follow more updates from Sportscasting on our Facebook page.