Jimmy Butler seems to have finally found a home in Miami. He's found a working relationship with a group strong enough to weather his intensity. At least that's how it seems right now, 50 games into the Jimmy Butler experience. With Butler, it always ends. Badly.
Butler was drafted 30th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2011, months after they lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Butler played sparingly as a rookie, appearing in just 42 games and averaging just over eight minutes a game.
By the end of his second season he started all 12 playoff games for the Bulls and was playing 40 minutes a night. Under Tom Thibodeau, Butler played a lot because he played defense and he played hard. And he kept getting better as an all-around player, increasing his scoring and assists numbers each of his first six seasons.
When he wore out his welcome in Chicago and was traded to Minnesota, he was a three-time All-Star averaging about 23 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals a game.The Bulls immediately went in the tank when he left and still haven't recovered.
Butler then spent just over a season in Minnesota dragging the franchise to their only playoff berth since Kevin Garnett was 27 years old. Butler's exit from Minnesota was epic as he publicly trashed his teammates and destroyed them in practice.
The Timberwolves traded Butler to Philadelphia before Thanksgiving. They still haven't recovered. Butler helped the Sixers take the eventual NBA Champion Toronto Raptors within seconds of the Eastern Conference Finals. In July he was traded to Miami. The Sixers, like the previous teams, have dropped off in the wake of Butler's exit.
Now in Miami, Butler leads the Heat in points, assists and steals. The Heat will soon pass last season's win total and have the best winning percentage since the final season of the LeBron James era. He is supposedly a perfect fit for Heat Culture, but it's probably only a matter of time before somebody gets sick of him. He'll then leave Miami in a huff, explaining that they can't win without him.
Butler just cares about winning to the point that people hate him. He is unquestionably one of the best players in the NBA and he carries himself like a guy who won six titles in the 80's. Yet he's never reached a Conference Finals. He acts like he is the one who knows the true way to win in the NBA, but his teams have lost six of the nine postseason series he's played a major part in. Yet there is hard statistical proof that teams are better with him. He is a truth teller and a contradiction rolled into an All-Star. He's Jimmy Butler and you're better off with him than without him.
Butler is a truth teller-- and nobody in the NBA wants to hear the truth.