Miami Heat: Making the case that Jimmy Butler is still underrated

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat are comfortable playing the underdog role, as is Jimmy Butler. However, here is a specific case that screams that Jimmy is still underrated.

The Miami Heat are a team that knows about being discounted. They have been the proverbial underdogs for quite some time now and even when they were the most dominant team in the league by far, the Big 3 era, they were still the most infamous, the most hated, and counted on to fail.

Something to keep in mind as we move forward here is that things can either be relative or absolute. When something is relative, it is typically that way in relation to or in comparison with something or someone else. When something is absolute, regardless of comparable or similar entities, this is the way that this thing will be.

That is important here because that frames how we are to view this Miami Heat underdog story. While I still believe that he is underrated from an absolute perspective as well, Jimmy Butler is definitely underrated from a relative perspective. Here is what we mean.

When you look at Kawhi Leonard, the man widely considered to be the second-best player in the NBA and top three at worst, his and Jimmy Butler’s numbers look eerily similar. Leonards career averages are 18.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game. Butler’s numbers are 17 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.5 blocks per contest.

When you look at their total career numbers, the picture isn’t that much different. Butler has 9,823 points, 2,936 rebounds, 2,136 assists, 914 steals, and 275 blocks. Leonard has 9,620 points, 3,323 rebounds, 1,377 assists, 921 steals, and 344 blocks.

Although Leonard is a year or so younger, they have both played nine years in the NBA. Butler is the better facilitator and playmaker of the two, having the better assist numbers, while Leonard appears to be the naturally better offensive player.

They both have the raw defensive numbers of defensive savants and although Leonard’s numbers are slightly better, they are so close that it really would be no difference in the grand scheme of comparisons. This is the reason for our question though.

How can they both have eerily similar numbers and go about the game the same way, but one is drastically higher thought of than the other? It just doesn’t make any sense.

That speaks towards the factor of a player’s situation having a massive impact on their appearance as a player and their legacy. It is fair to ask if Butler had taken or was gifted the same path as Leonard, would he be the more highly looked upon player?

Dwyane Wade celebrates 3-day weekend to the max. dark. Next

If Butler had been gifted a pass into the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, would he be the guy that is viewed as the second-best player in the NBA right now? I believe so.

You have to give credit to Kawhi Leonard for leading the Toronto Raptors to a title, but to be fair, if not for the triple rim bounce of a shot hit by Leonard, that could have been Butler’s title as well. These though, have been the reasons why I believe Jimmy Butler is still an underrated player.