Jimmy Butler is a man of wonder, mystique and energy. He usually does his barking on the court, but when he has something to express, he does it in his way. From new hairstyles to perennial playoff contention, he’s always somewhat of a media darling. One thing we tend to forget about Butler is that he is one of the hardest-working athletes in sports, and while some may feel like his ESPN ranking may not reflect that, Butler is as humble as ever in his approach to the top players list.
Being overlooked among the game’s elite is nothing new to Jimmy Buckets. He’s had to scrap and scrape for every ounce of stardom he’s gained in the NBA. It’s just served as motivation for a borderline Hall of Fame career.
ESPN released their top 100 players ranking heading into the beginning of the NBA season, and while the European players dominated the top of the list, some of the veterans are still holding their place among the league’s elite. Jimmy Butler is one of them, landing at No. 17 in the network’s rankings list.
Jimmy Butler’s ESPN Top 100 Ranking Too Low?
For someone who has done a stellar job of keeping a post-Dwyane Wade Miami Heat team as a consistent playoff contender and a threat to win it all every year, you’d think Jimmy Butler would be ranked top-10 minimum.
Butler doesn’t care about that though. You can tell from his interview that he doesn’t care. He took the humble approach of “pretending” to be surprised that he was ranked as high as 17, but he knows he’s one of the best. Butler seemingly doesn’t pay attention to the media rankings and the blogs, he doesn’t care where he is ranked, because as far as he’s concerned the Miami Heat are a threat to make the finals this year.
He put the NBA on notice last season, and fools laughed.
Then the Heat went out and lost in the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games.
When made aware of his ranking, what was Butler’s response? “Word? That’s good.” Then when asked if there were 16 more impactful players in the league, Jimmy couldn’t agree more. “Probably so, probably about 25 of them. So, I’ll get in where I fit in, I’m not worried about it. Seventeen, that’s a good number for me. For where I come from, 17? I’m taking that.” Jimmy continued, per the U.S Sun.
Butler is obviously a top 15 player in the league, but ESPN tries to reason with fans as to why he is ranked where he is. According to ESPN’s article on the ranking, “Butler’s career has been defined in part by his ability to perform at a high level no matter what lingering injury he is dealing with but at age 33 it remains to be seen if all the minutes he has logged since coming into the league in the 2011-12 season have taken a toll. Butler has played in just 109 out of a possible 154 games over the past two seasons.”
One thing you can count on is when he’s on the court, Butler fighting and leading.
Father time is undefeated eventually, but for a network that loves to categorize players on how good they can be when they’re healthy, it’s a bit unfair to rank Butler 17th because of his health issues when he’s one of the most consistent and productive playoff players in the league.
The ranking may be a bit biased, but for them to rank Kawhi Leonard (ranked 12th) over Jimmy Butler, then turn around and try to use health as the main factor in his ranking is quite insulting, to say the least. Considering Kawhi missed all of last season, and Butler played the majority of last season with the Miami Heat as the first seed, it is quite clear how biased this list is.
Nonetheless, Butler isn’t fazed by this list. It’s all conjecture. He’s locked in and he’s ready to work, and he’s hungry to get back to that finals stage that he reached in 2020. HE usually has the last laugh on premature narratives.
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