Full disclosure. I’m not great at basketball. On several fronts. I’m barely 6 feet tall and my ball handling skills are virtually non-existent. There may have been a time many moons ago when I could shoot a decent free throw, but apart from that – you might say I was a lost cause on the hardwood. So when a debate broke out in our writer’s room about NBA star Jimmy Butler (ignited by a conversation about jerseys), I took the role of the stenographer. Below is a snippet of a debate between two of our writers here at The Turf, tempered with a third party opinion from our fearless leader.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm:
He thinks and acts like he’s an elite player when he’s not. The way he left Minnesota was childish. The 76ers were better the year before he played there, and aren’t much worse this year – even with Embiid missing 10 games and Al Horford looking old as hell all of a sudden. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very very good player. He would be the best player on a lot of teams. But he’s not elite.
What you just said isn’t true though. They (the 76ers) were 2nd in the Eastern Conference Finals had Kawhi not gotten a lucky bounce on a shot in Game 7. The year before they were 3rd in the East and lost in 5 to the Celtics in Round 2. This year they’re currently the 6th seed in the East. With Butler, they’d probably be the 2 seed again with actual Championship aspirations. I’m just saying he’s a lot better than people give him credit for. Also – he didn’t want to play for Minnesota. He got traded and hated it. I don’t blame him for that at all. Plus – shouldn’t all professional athletes think they’re elite? I mean, is he supposed to act like he’s average? Honestly, I think Jimmy was right all along and that these other organizations have huge character issues. He wasn’t the problem. He just took the Heat from a lottery team to a 4 seed in a year.
The game was tied when Kawhi made that shot. And they weren’t gonna lose in OT. And I don’t count seeding as whether or not a team is better. I don’t care if he wanted to play in Minnesota or not. He bullied his way out and acted like a child in the process. If he tried to buy into that team’s system and just said “I think I’m better than all of you”, that Minnesota team would’ve had a chance to do some real damage. He’s never going to win as the best player on a team. He’s a fantastic number 2 but he’s not THE guy. That Philly team last year worked because it was a full team of no. 2s (with one who has the potential of being THE guy but keeps getting in his own way).
As far as him taking the Heat from a lottery team to the No. 4 seed: the season wasn’t over and 2 games separated 4 from 6. Likewise, the Heat were only 2 games back from the 8 seed last year. And the emergence of Bam is likely just as much responsible for their better season this year as Jimmy is.
If he had left one place and said it was a bad organization I’d agree with him. [But] 3 in a row? I’m more inclined to blame the common denominator. And, you don’t have to see it the same way I do. But the original question was why wouldn’t I want a Butler jersey.
Yeah, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. Just trying to stick up for him because I personally dislike the argument that he’s the problem. I bet he wins a title with Miami and Philly never even makes a Conference Finals with Embiid and Simmons.
Side note – I fu****ing love Bam though and this would be a good jersey in blue too. Obviously you should do Wade though – it’s the right thing to do.
OK – as an independent third party in this situation, I would just like to point out the spirit of vigorous debate tempered by cordial behavior and compromise. That’s one of the many things I love about our merry band or scribes.
At this point, the debate seemed to have run its course. Both gentlemen had made their cases, found the middle ground, and moved on. Given the size of our writing team, it was inevitable that someone else would chime in eventually. Enter our Editor-in-Chief:
I think I’m in the middle on this one boys. For me, Jimmy was on three teams where he should’ve been the guy – the Bulls, the Wolves, and the Sixers (with the last one being a bit of a stretch. My issue with Jimmy is that he wants to be the guy, but doesn’t want to be the only guy, but still wants to be the only guy. He wants to be Jordan, but also be Pippen, but still feel like Jordan. The league doesn’t work like that. The Wolves could’ve been great with him. The Sixers took a step back in bringing him in. Neither place allowed him to be the player he wanted to be on the court, but the initial deals made him into the star he wants to be.
HOWEVER – Miami is the perfect spot for him. He’s on a team that’s young as hell, and they can grow with him as the focal veteran star while everyone around him shows up and shows off. He also fills the hole left by Wade, so he automatically becomes the franchise face, which he wants. Miami is perfect for him.
I definitely agree Miami is the perfect fit for him. He likes the culture and the coaching staff fits him because Pat Riley has put enough trust in them. And Pat doesn’t budge.
Well – that’s a small glimpse into what we kick around in our writer’s room. Obviously, the debate will rage on, garnering numerous opinions from various viewpoints. Stay tuned in the future for another edition of “The Turf Weighs In” – I can’t wait to see what our next topic will be!
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