Jimmy Butler’s case for NBA Clutch Player of the Year
Jimmy Butler is 33 years old and age-wise is approaching the fork in the road that is the perceived beginning of the end of his prime. He certainly didn’t play like that over the course of the entire season and lived up to his classic nickname ‘Jimmy Buckets’. In 43 games played in clutch situations, the Heat boasted a record of 25-18, Butler averages 3.7 minutes played, 3.5 points, a +0.9 plus-minus, on 505/.222/.791 shooting splits, 2.2 shot attempts, and 1.6 free throw attempts. Butler continued to build upon his gamer resume. A guy that is one of the most unflappable players in the league who makes positive impacts on both ends of the floor. Butler can lock up on the opposing team’s best player, roam off-ball like a free safety to tally steals or blocks, dive for loose balls and grab tough rebounds amongst the trees of big men.
Butler plays his role of point forward, using screens to gain leverage on his defender by keeping him on his hip. Butler when he does this surveys the floor for slashing cutters, shooters spread along the three-point line, or a crevice to make a physical move to the basket for a layup or away for a tough contested fadeaway mid-range jumper. We’re all too familiar with Butler’s ability to step up when it matters most for his team. A few examples are his baseline game-winner of the Boston Celtics, his layup to gain the lead (momentarily) in Game 7 in 2019 against the Toronto Raptors, and finally, his performance in the entire second round of the 2022 series against the Sixers. He is currently showing how clutch and dependable he is as the Heat outlasted the Chicago Bulls in the play-in tournament to earn the eighth seed. Butler is a deserving candidate but not as much of a shoo-in as Fox was.