Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler made the NBA Finals during his first year with the team. His previous teams have not fared as well without him.
The Chicago Bulls, the team that drafted him back in 2011, have not made the playoffs after trading him to the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2017. Minnesota made the postseason for the first time since 2004 during Butler’s only full season with the team and finished with the third-worst record in the league this year.
His most recent employer could not make past the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as the Philadelphia 76ers were quickly bounced by the Boston Celtics.
In fact, with his performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday evening, Butler has now singlehandedly outscored the output that the Sixers showed in the playoffs.
Philadelphia managed just 402 points against Boston, the lowest among the 16 teams that qualified for postseason play. Butler, meanwhile, goes into the fifth game of the championship series with 420 points in the postseason.
It is worth noting that Philly was without star Ben Simmons due to an injured knee cap. Not only was Simmons their leading distributor (8.0 assists per game) during the regular season but he was also their third-leading scorer (16.4 points per game) as well.
Simmons had his hand on 35.8 percent of buckets that Philadelphia scored during the regular season, per RealGM, either scoring himself or creating the opportunity through an assist. To further illustrate how important Simmons is to their team, that rate trailed just eleven players in the NBA.
Philadelphia’s offensive rating dropped from where it was in the regular season (110.7) by approximately six points (105.0) in the playoffs. For comparison, that is identical to the on/off numbers for Simmons on Philly in the regular season. The 76ers averaged 110.0 points per 100 possessions with Simmons on the floor, per Cleaning the Glass, but dropped 4.8 points per 100 when he was off.
JIMMY BUTLER IS AN ALL-STAR AND DOES ALL THE LITTLE THINGS GUYS LIKE MYSELF HAVE TO DO TO STICK, WILLINGLY. THAT’S INCREDIBLE, @JoelEmbiid YOU WERE RIGHT BRO.
— Justin Anderson (@JusAnderson1) September 18, 2020
Butler, who averaged 19.9 points per game in the regular season, has upped his scoring production to 22.1 points per game since the playoffs began.
Butler has put up 27.5 points per game in the NBA Finals. The increase in his scoring has been met with positive feedback from former teammates including Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, who tweeted the word “Inspiring” around the same time that Miami finalized their first win of the series against Los Angeles.
The big man has previously said that he wished Butler was “still on the team” and that the organization lost a big piece last offseason. Embiid certainty had a point considering the undeniable success that Butler has had with Miami.