The All-Star snub was utterly ridiculous at the time. And after the ensuing few weeks, Jimmy Butler’s non-selection is only looking more and more like the most egregious error in All-Star voting history.
But for the Miami Heat, its been a godsend, with Butler continuing on with the most impressive stretch of play in his 10-year career. In defeating the Orlando Magic 102-97, the Heat notched their 10th win from their past 11 games, and are now 14-5 in games that Butler has appeared in since returning from a 10-game absence due to Covid.
The continued sublime play of Jimmy Butler has now catapulted the Miami Heat up to the four seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
In particular, Butler’s last six games have been on a whole other level. Playing 34.7 minutes per game, Butler has averaged 28.8 points, 9.2 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals while shooting at a sizzling 55.8 percent clip from the field. Furthermore, Butler has averaged 10.5 attempts per game from the free throw line while committing just 2.2 turnovers per game. To put this in perspective, only Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Chris Paul in NBA history had recorded this over a six-game span, per Stathead.
In the latest win over the Magic, Butler recorded 29 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five assists, the first such line in the history of the franchise. In fact, this was the seventh consecutive game he had recorded at least eight assists, with the Heat now 15-2 on the season when Butler has dished out at least eight dimes.
Following his latest performance, Heat television analyst Ron Rothstein said it best:
“I think he’s an MVP, two-way player. This guy does it all, he really does.”
Furthermore, Butler detailed his mindset as it pertains to getting it done at the defensive end of the floor:
“Being in the right place, just good things happen, get your hand on a loose ball, get on a the floor and in the air, that’s just part of the game.”
For the season, Butler’s 2.2 steals per game represents a career high, while the 31-year-old also ranks fifth in the league with 3.6 deflections per game. Additionally, among the 85 players who’ve appeared in at least 20 games for the season while averaging at least 30 minutes per outing, Butler ranks third with a 104.8 defensive rating.
Having stumbled out of the gates to a 7-14 start to the season, the Heat’s current 21-18 record which sees them sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference is a significant accomplishment. in addition to Butler’s time on the sidelines, the Heat have also been without Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro and Avery Bradley for large chunks of the season.
But ultimately, its been the career-best stretch of play from their superstar, two-way swingman that’s turned the Heat’s season around. In addition to being overlooked for the All-Star game, Butler was unfathomably overlooked by a number of media members and writers when nominating their biggest snubs, particularly when such lists included up to an additional 10 players not selected to the event.
However, the response to such a comical oversight has not only reaffirmed Jimmy Butler’s standing among the elite in the game, but also to all followers of the Miami Heat that he is the absolute most valuable player on the team.