It’s never safe to bet against Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler. As one of the league’s best two-way players, the five-time All-Star is a tireless competitor who has his heart set on bringing a championship title to Miami this season.
Over the summer, the NBA announced the implementation of new rules to limit attempts to draw fouls starting in the 2021-22 season. Refs will be trained to identify “overt non-basketball actions to initiate contact with a defender,” as reported by The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.
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“So when crafty players lean into defenders on their jump shots, the NBA’s new rules dictate that should be called an offensive foul,” Charania continued. “And when players lean backward or sideways to initiate contact, the marginal contact should be no-calls.”
With these new rules, The Action Network’s NBA reporter Matt Moore pointed out on Twitter that Butler is the No. 1 player in the entire NBA when it comes to drawing free throws off pull-up jumper possessions. “Butler hasn’t gotten as much attention as Trae, Luka, and Harden, but he’s *really* dependent on free throws for efficiency,” Moore tweeted.
“The key here is not that he won’t generate any, but will generate fewer which hurts his overall efficiency.”
Butler’s Agent Clapped Back at Moore’s Belittling Assessment
A few weeks later, Butler’s agent Bernard Lee came across Moore’s assessment of his client’s talent and clapped back with a response on Twitter. Lee clearly found it offensive that Moore would predict Butler would drop off because of these new rules.
“I’ve spent all summer telling JB abt the rule changes and how I thought they would effect him,” Lee tweeted. “He’s told me to shut up every time… (when he leave I start talking again) 1st game of regular mins he shoots 11 FT’s in a half… talent is an amazing thing.”
Based on Butler’s preseason performance, the new rules won’t be making a dent in the superstar’s game. During the Heat’s final preseason game on Friday night, Butler went 10 for 11 from the free-throw line and finished the game with 25 points, four rebounds, and four assists. These numbers are all the more impressive considering Butler was pulled midway through the third period.
Butler Will Be a Key Component of the Heat’s Success This Season
Butler is an incredibly unselfish player, sometimes to a fault, and despite the media hype, he doesn’t buy into “Big 3” ball. Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry are the team’s biggest stars, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be the only big playmakers this season.
“I don’t believe the hype of a Big Three,” Butler said. “We have a bunch of guys that can do things. All of our guys can play. Yeah, we’re probably the three leaders that everybody’s going to look towards and look at, but we’re not going to be able to do it without everybody else around it.”
The Heat’s first regular-season game is against the defending NBA champs, the Milwaukee Bucks, on October 21 at the FTX Arena at 8 p.m. ET.