Jimmy Butler Just EXPOSED The NBA's Problem
LeBron, the Lakers won the NBA Finals, But Jimmy Butler just exposed the NBA and proved them wrong. #Butler #LeBron #NBA
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Yes, the Lakers won. And yes LeBron won finals MVP. But I’m not going to forget the man on the other side of the court. Jimmy Butler had a historic NBA Finals, and at times matched LeBron blow for blow. What I don’t get is why we aren’t talking more about what Jimmy just did. He averaged 26.2 points, 9.8 assists, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 steals on 55% from the field. He led his team in every category, points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks. He pulled a LeBron. In fact, he legit did what LeBron did.
Heading into the playoffs, most people weren’t expecting Jimmy Butler to have the playoffs he did and it made sense. Butler wasn’t on the level of superstars, he was just a really good player that put in a lot of effort, an All-Star. In the regular season, Butler averaged 19.9 points, 6 assists, and 6.7 rebounds on 45% from the field and 24.5% from 3. This is showing a trend that has become even more apparent in the past few years. The difference between the regular season and playoffs.
Aite remember there was a time where the regular season was just a formality, when the whole world pretty much knew that it was going to be the Warriors and Cavs in the finals. The regular season began to lose meaning. There was also this whole load management wave going on which meant stars were already giving less importance to the regular season. We even started to coin names for players who performed specifically in the playoffs. Playoff Rondo which if you look at the stats is a real thing. We had Playoff Kawhi who would turn into possibly the best player in the world in the playoffs after being a star in the regular season. Heck we even had Playoff LeBron, the whole idea of him coasting in the regular season, saving himself for the playoffs. I think it makes sense. Players should elevate themselves in the toughest of moments or at least keep up similar production since playoff defense means more. Jamal Murray went to another level these playoffs, but his performances seem more like really good shooting days and he’ll have to prove it again. And now we have Jimmy Butler. Here’s a guy who legit didn’t average 20 points a game this season or last season. A guy that was written off as a locker room problem despite helping every single franchise he was a part of. The thing with Butler is that he really could perform like that in the regular season since it wasn’t about knockdown shooting with no one to really stop him, but he doesn’t.
And then we have the other side of the spectrum, the players that do well in the regular season but fall short in the playoffs. This makes more sense because defense tightens up in the playoffs and the main go to’s get taken away. We have players like Giannis who dominate in the regular season, but fail to replicate in the playoffs. Paul George was 3rd in MVP voting in 2019 and has horrible games. This year he looked like Pandemic P. The Lakers wanted the Clippers and then this happened. Just look at the stats comparison. Russell Westbrook has put up some tremendous historical stats in the regular season, but fails to do the same in the playoffs. At times, he can shoot his team out of the game.
So what does this all mean? We already know that playoff basketball is different. But does the regular season doesn’t mean as much to the players? We award accolades based on the regular season, 1st Team All-NBA, 1st Team All-Defense. These are what we measure players’ legacies but it lacks context. As a basketball fan, I wouldn’t want the regular season to feel like a long prelude to the playoffs but that’s what players like Jimmy Butler are doing.
So what’s the solution? It’s not as if you can fine players for not playing their best like we did with load management. Which is why I’m saying Jimmy Butler proved the entire NBA wrong. He was the last straw of sorts. The Warriors with KD would coast, they were just too dominant. They got in the right form at the right time, but even their stars weren’t like lemme not be a superstar. There’s a difference between resting because you’re an older player or in your prime, healthy, and still resting. I honestly think we should have awards for the playoffs besides Finals MVP because playoff basketball is a whole different sport. Players like Jimmy Butler make us reevaluate the value of players that we have and the value of the regular season.