Jimmy Butler Vs Kawhi Leonard Stats

Jimmy Butler Vs Kawhi Leonard Stats

Jimmy Butler Vs Kawhi Leonard Stats

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Miami has built a great team for Butler, but will Butler be enough to return Miami to the top of the East?

Jimmy Butler Vs Kawhi Leonard Stats

Jimmy Butler Vs Kawhi Leonard Stats

Jimmy Butler finally has his own team. After spending the past two seasons in Big Three struggles in Minnesota and Philadelphia, the 30-year-old is the undisputed center in Miami. In the year the franchise desperately wanted a player after losing LeBron James in 2014, the Heat had no choice but to build around Butler on both ends. Now he has to prove that he can handle this multi-tasking task.

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The Heat have been surprisingly strong through the first two weeks, going 5-2 and the fourth-best net rating in the NBA (plus-6.3). It’s a completely new team: Justise Winslow is the only starter from last season who is still early, having missed two games with a back injury. And they’re still learning to play against Butler, who missed three games while on parental leave.

Butler has struggled to score well so far, averaging 15.0 points per game on 35.4 percent shooting, but he has struggled in other areas. He averaged 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 steals and nearly doubled his assists (6.5) compared to his career high (3.5). When he removed the pot from the court, he really didn’t like it. He’s a legitimate point forward, has great size on defense and is a skilled ballplayer with the ability to make plays.

The biggest change is that he plays more positions than before. For the first time in his career, Butler is driving on an empty road instead of passing people. Here’s a look at where Miami ranks in 3-point attempts and 3-pointers this season compared to last season (or last quarter, in Philly’s case).

The floor type is Butler’s god. At 6-7 and 230 pounds, he’s at his best when he can use physical tools to get in his way. He’s a good outside shooter, averaging 33.9 career 3-pointers on 2.7 attempts per game, but he can be effective when the defense can build a wall to keep him out.

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Last season, Butler wasn’t able to make this type of pass — hitting players crossing the open lane or running under the basket before getting out to shoot:

Miami changed its roster to accommodate its new star. Butler doesn’t play with a post-shooter like Joel Embiid or a non-shooter like Ben Simmons. Everyone on the Heat faces one of three conditions:

While still a very young player, Butler has gotten better without Dragic and Winslow, who both like to play with the ball in their hands. According to NBA Advanced Stats, Butler has a positive rating of plus-8.0 per 45 minutes with Dragic and plus-22.1 per 77 minutes without him. The difference is even more impressive for Winslow: Butler’s rating jumped from plus-3.7 per 26 minutes in the fifth year to -18.2 per 96 minutes.

Jimmy Butler Vs Kawhi Leonard Stats

Dragic has had an easy time adjusting. Now the sixth man, Dragic is playing less than he has since the 2011-12 season (27.0 minutes per game) but is shooting 41.0 percent from 3 on 5.6 attempted games. Winslow’s bench is also unfamiliar because outside shooting is the easiest part of the game. He rebuilt last season by moving to point guard, but that role is no longer available. Instead of creating their own, Butler looks for people around him who can live in an ecosystem.

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The player who fits the bill the most is Bam Adebayo, a third-year commit from Kentucky who is now backing up Hassan Whiteside’s blossoming. Adebayo can do a little bit of everything: he’s averaging 12.7 points on 51.9 percent shooting, 9.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.7 per game this season; Giannis Antetokounmpo and Karl-Anthony Towns are the only other players to average 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and one block.

Bam will probably never be as successful as Giannis or City; The 22-year-old’s best case is that he’s becoming a bigger version of Draymond Green’s Swiss Army Knife of a defender who can change screens, clear the glass and get himself on the fast break. Few players of his size (6-foot-9, 255 pounds) have good passing vision.

Butler and Bam could be one of the best two-man games in the NBA if they have enough shots around them. This is what Miami was most worried about coming into the season: The Heat were a 3-point shooting team last season, and they sent their best shooter (Josh Richardson) to the 76ers in a deal and trade for Butler. If not for the unexpected development of rookies Tyler Hero and Kendrick Nunn, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Hero, no. Pick 13 in this year’s draft, it was no surprise. He is a complete offensive player who combines NBA readiness to shoot with the ability to put the ball down and find the open man. The 19-year-old has already exploded this season, scoring 29 points in last week’s win over the Hawks. The hero has to defend himself, but with the number of shots he gets, it’s hard to imagine him not being involved in the attack.

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Nunn’s performance is a revelation. The 24-year-old went to Oakland University and spent last season in the G League. He arrived in Miami in good condition. At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he’s more of a scorer than a guard, but that doesn’t matter when you’re playing a point forward like Butler. Monk has a deceptive game – he can shoot from anywhere, change speed on the dribble, and finish from a variety of angles around the perimeter.

The Heat are one of the best organizations in the NBA when it comes to recruiting and developing young talent. Not just a Nun. Derrick Jones Jr., Duncan Robinson and Chris Silva are free agents, as are Rodney McGruder and Tyler Johnson, who started their careers in Miami and have had success elsewhere. But a winning side doesn’t mean much without a real star to build around.

Miami hopes Butler can be that guy. Adebayo, Warriors and Nunn, for all their abilities, still need a wing-back to carry on both sides. Nun and Warrior are inexperienced players who lack size and speed at their respective positions. Winslow is the Heat’s only perimeter player capable of guarding a top scorer, meaning coach Erik Spoelstra must choose between defense and offense when building a lineup around his best player. Butler didn’t get a chance to show for the 76ers and Tigers, but those teams had more star talent than the Heat.

Jimmy Butler Vs Kawhi Leonard Stats

If Miami wants to change that, it has options. The salary cap between Dragic and Leonard could make a trade worth $30 million, packing Winslow and some of his younger players. The problem is that the Heat gave away their 2021 and 2023 first-round picks, meaning they only have until 2025 to trade, and there aren’t many big names on the market. Help may not come until the summer of 2021, when they have the salary cap space to sign a player to a multi-contract. But that may be too little too late for Butler, an aging athlete who is confident in his athleticism and has put a lot of mileage on his body.

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Butler has shown flashes of the ability to carry a team. He met the two-way wing style and is now the most valuable player in the NBA, and in the second round of the playoffs, he led the Raptors to a seven-game losing streak against Kawhi Leonard. The 76ers’ major turnaround from their Game 1 loss has been largely driven by Butler, who averaged 24.0 points on 45.6 percent shooting, 7.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists over the last six games. Who knows what would happen if Philadelphia kept Ben Simmons and put three shooters around Butler and Embiid? The duo had a net rating of plus-15.5 in 173 minutes without Simmons in the regular season and plus-28.6 in 49 minutes without him in the playoffs.

But that doesn’t mean Butler is ready to be an MVP-caliber player. It was never average

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