Former NBA Star Sounds Off on Jimmy Butler’s Playoff Performance

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Getty Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Holding a three-one series lead over the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat are poised to enter the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Despite some uncharacteristic performances from veteran guard Kyle Lowry, Miami has asserted their dominance over the Hawks, proving their credentials as a force to be reckoned with as a byproduct.

There’s no doubt that Miami’s performances have been exceptional at times, specifically in terms of team production, but when we talk about individual impact, no one deserves more credit than Jimmy Butler. The 32-year-old wing has been a one-man wrecking crew since the post-season began and has singlehandedly willed his team to victory on at least two occasions thus far – it’s those performances that have begun to earn the veteran some recognition in NBA media circles.

“I don’t know who needs to hear this, as it’s not on the docket for today, but Jimmy Butler has been the best player in these playoffs. When we look at points added on offense, Jimmy Butler, first. Points saved on defense, Jimmy Butler is second to Giannis (Antetokounmpo) – he has been far and away through four, five games in every series, he has been far and away the best player in these playoffs,” Former NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick said during a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take.

Butler Has Been Dominant so Far

In his four games against the Hawks, Butler is averaging 30.5 points, 5.3 assists, and 7.8 rebounds on 54.3% shooting from the field and 43.8% shooting from deep, while also being a dominant force on the defensive side of the floor.

Put simply, Butler is leading the charge for Miami and is setting the tone for his teammates to follow, and he’s doing it with the ferocity and swagger that we’ve all come to expect from the star wing. On the defensive side of the floor, the Texas native has been almost impenetrable and has helped his team limit Trae Young, the Hawks’ star offensive weapon, to single-digit scoring nights on two separate occasions.

None of this should come as a surprise, though. Butler was acquired by the Heat to bring this type of production, intensity, and commitment. Erik Spoelstra understands the value of having high-impact players that also embrace the role of an enforcer, which is why the Heat are littered with combative personalities, and that’s why many consider them front runners in their conference.

Butler to Miss Game Five

Unfortunately for the Heat, Butler will be unavailable for selection in game five of their first-round series after their star guard began to show signs of knee inflammation. While Miami is certainly well-positioned to close out the series, their task is certainly going to be harder without their most impactful player on the floor.

To make matters worse for Miami, they’re also going to be without their star point guard Kyle Lowry, who is due to miss the game courtesy of a left hamstring strain. Without their top-two players, the Heat are going into what could be a series-clinching game shorthanded, and will likely be relying on sixth-man-of-the-year candidate Tyler Herro to show up and lead them to victory, and into the next round of the playoffs where the team is likely to face the Philadelphia 76ers.

Furthermore, Lowry and Butler’s absence will open the door for big minutes from Victor Oladipo, who has been somewhat of a spectator this series, participating in just one game thus far, dropping six points on three-of-ten shooting. If Atlanta does take advantage of their opponent’s short-handedness, then we should expect to see Butler back in the rotation for game six later this week.



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