In a tight MVP race, anything can happen between now and the end of the season. The Miami Heat were rolling, winning 11 of their last 13 games before dropping back-to-back games against the Indiana Pacers and sitting 4th in the East, should Jimmy Butler be included in the MVP discussion?
Butler is currently averaging 21.6 PPG, 7.5 APG, 7.8 RPG, and 2 SPG on 47.9% shooting. Butler leads the league in SPG and is a defensive menace. Jimmy was the key to the Heat’s hot month, ending February and going into March. Jimmy Butler’s MVP case should be evident, here’s how.
The Heat’s Slow Start
In the Heat’s slow start to the season, Butler missed 14 games due to COVID tracing and small injuries. In these 14 games gone, the Heat have a record of 4-10. With Butler, the Heat boast a much better 18-11 record.
This directly hurt Miami and, in turn, caused the slow start. Once Butler got back and got his footing, the Heat started going on streaks and winning games.
This is exactly what an MVP should do. You see it all the time with players like LeBron James, James Harden, and Joel Embiid. When these players go down, so do their teams. However, most of these players have other leaders. LeBron has Anthony Davis, Harden has Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Embiid has Ben Simmons.
“I’m not worried. We’re not worried. Just play better. Keep playing basketball the right way. Stay together through the L’s, through the W’s, and we’ll be just fine. We’ll be fine.” – @JimmyButler— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 22, 2021
Cup of Joe // @CafeBustelo https://t.co/W9h8TjTBIz
And it hurts even more when multiple stars go down with injuries, such as the Lakers case with LeBron and AD.
Can you say that the Heat can remain afloat without Butler? It’s a tough question, and that’s exactly why we should focus on Jimmy Butler’s MVP case.
Jimmy Butler’s Two-Way Play
One of Butler’s defining traits is his ability to guard any player in any situation. Looking at his split stats, Jimmy’s even better defending on the road, averaging 2.5 SPG.
Butler also has 10 games with 3+ steals, 4 games with 4+ steals, and 2 games with 5+ steals, including his season high game of 7 steals.
Momma, There Goes That Man
Just like these other players, Jimmy does it all for his team. Whether it’s lead the team in rebounds or go down on the other end and get a stop, Butler’s the man to go to.
In the most recent loss to the Pacers, Butler led all rebounders with 15 boards, adding on 21 points and 7 assists. This defines Butler’s season and encapsulates Jimmy Butler’s MVP case, despite the loss.
Butler finally cracked the top 10 MVP candidates on March 19, sliding into the #10 spot according to ESPN’s Kia MVP Ladder.
Look for Butler to continue to put up eye popping numbers and rise in the ranks of MVP as the season progresses, especially with players like LeBron and Giannis out for an extended period of time.
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