Today we will evaluate another NBA superstar who worked his way to the top. He’s a five-time NBA All-Star, three-time All-NBA Team, and four-time NBA All-Defensive team honoree. Today’s topic is “How good is Jimmy Butler?” We’ll also look at his journey to see how he made it where he is today.
Jimmy Butler was born and raised in Houston, Texas. His father left when he was only a baby, and at the age of 13, his mother kicked him out and he struggled finding a new place to call home. He ended up staying with his best friend Jordan Leslie, who played basketball and football at the same school. Jimmy attended Tomball High school, which was in the suburbs of Houston. He averaged 10 points per game as a junior and as a senior he increased his numbers averaging 19.9 points and 8.7 rebounds. He wasn’t a top recruit coming out of high school, so he decided to attend Tyler Junior College.
He averaged 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a freshman. After only one year, scouts started to recruit him, and he committed to play basketball and attend Marquette. As a sophomore his numbers decreased tremendously, and then his junior year he moved up to the starting line-up and averaged 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He earned All-Big East Honorable Mention and helped them reach the NCAA tournament. His last year as a senior, he averaged 15.7 points and Honorable Mention for a second consecutive year.
NBA Draft 2011/ Rookie Season:
Jimmy declared for the 2011 NBA Draft and was the 30th overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. For the 2011-2012 season the lockout shortened the season so he only played in 42 games his rookie year.
His sophomore season he played a full season, but wasn’t in the main rotation, so he saw limited minutes on the floor. But he did see more minutes towards the end of the season and even started in 12 playoff games. He set a new career high of 28 points and 14 rebounds.
The 2013-2014 season, his minutes increased to 38.7 minutes per game. He had a season-high 26 points for this season, and he was named to the NBA’s All Defensive Second Team. The 2014-2015 season, he set a playoff career-high scoring 31 points in the first round against the Bucks. He topped his playoff career high a few days later scoring 33 points. They made it the semi-finals but lost to the Cavs 4-2. At the end of the season, he won the Most Improved Player award and became the first player in franchise history to win this.
Butler re-signed with the Bulls to a five-year, $95 million contract for the 2015-2016 season. On January 3rd he broke Michael Jordan’s record for points scored in a half, and scored 42 points. He also became the first Bull to score 50 points, since Jamal Crawford last did it in 2004. He was voted into the 2016 All-Star game, but due to a knee injury he couldn’t participate. He was in and out of play with this knee injury, so the Bulls didn’t make the playoffs this year.
Going into the 2016-2017 season, he scored 24 points in the first game, a season high 40 points, and topped his season high again scoring 52 points against the Hornets. He was voted as a starter in the 2017 All-Star game. He earned his third career triple double against the Cavs, but the Bulls weren’t successful again and missed the playoffs.
Butler was traded in the summer before the 2017-2018 season to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jimmy was a huge asset to the Timberwolves. He was named an All-Star reserve for the 2018 All-Star game, but he chose not to play because he was more focused on his team finishing the season strong. Jimmy hurt his knee again, and had to get surgery to fix his meniscus, and he returned in April back to playing. Butler made it known to management that he wasn’t happy and won’t re-sign to Minnesota. He opted to play, and was traded in November.
Philadelphia 76’ers (2018-2019)
In the 2018-2019 season, he was traded to the 76’ers. He continued to be the natural scorer he was and scored a season high 38 points, consecutively. The 76’ers made a playoff appearance, but lost in the second round in Game 7 against the Raptors.
Miami Heat (2019-Present)
In the summer before the 2019-2020 season, he was traded to the Miami Heat. By December he was averaging close to a double-double. Butler was voted to his fifth All-Star game. This was Jimmy’s peak year as he led a young Miami Heat team to the NBA Finals. In Game 3, he finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists becoming only the third player in NBA Finals history to have a performance like this. In Game 5, he had another triple double, and became the second player to score 30 points in triple doubles in the same Finals series. The Heat almost made a comeback, but ended up coming up short losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. He put his blood, sweat and tears into the Finals and left everything out there.
He’s putting on for all the underdogs out there and has truly made a name for himself for the accomplishments he reached this last season. He was a nobody coming out of high school and Juco, but now he’s an NBA superstar. He truly came from the bottom and worked hard for every single success he’s achieved thus far.