Timberwolves Player Evaluation: Jimmy Butler

22Without Jimmy Butler, the Timberwolves do not make the playoffs this year. Both his production and leadership were invaluable resources for the young guys on the roster like Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Tyus Jones.

He not only is fun to watch on the court, but he also is one of the more vibrant personalities the NBA has to offer. Butler was often caught yelling profanities at his teammates in a friendly fashion. Jimmy Buckets also jumped on Twitter after a multiyear absence to defend his teammate Jeff Teague after he essentially body slammed former Timberwolves fan favorite, Ricky Rubio, in a game against the Utah Jazz.

Nonetheless, the Timberwolves were a team that actually won a majority of their games this season, and Butler is one of the primary reasons for that. We saw when Butler went down with his knee injury, how much the Wolves actually relied on him to win games. The Wolves were 10 and 13 when Butler did not play. Not a total disaster without him, but the team played down to their competition constantly without the leadership and guidance that Butler provides on the floor.

On a per game basis this season, Butler recorded 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. Butler shot the ball well, finishing the season with a 51.2 eFG% from the floor and  85.4% from the free throw line. If there’s one area where Butler could improve it would be on from beyond the 3 point line. At this point in his career, it doesn’t seem likely that fans will see that number improve but if he makes a conscious effort this offseason, we could see a great player get even better.

Jimmy Butler is under contract until the 2019-2020. He will have the option to opt in or out of the fifth year of his contract which is worth $19,841,627. There is no clear indication if Butler is leaning one way or the other. The assumption is, is that if head coach Tom Thibodeau is in town, he will resign with the Wolves. It is also hard to imagine that Butler doesn’t have eyes for Los Angeles as that is where he has a home and spends most of his offseason. Only time will tell if Butler is willing to sign an extension or not.

It will be interesting to see how this offseason plays out for Minnesota. It could offer as an indication of Butler’s future with the team. The cap space the Wolves have to offer is dwindling down after Wiggins’ extension, and with Town’s extension looming. The most likely scenario is that Butler will be in a Wolves uniform for the foreseeable future. Something that all Wolves fans can be happy about.

 

photo credit chicago.suntimes.com

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