Countdown to NBA 2019: Most Valuable Player Candidates, #17

Another day closer to the NBA regular season! Making his entrance at #17 on our countdown of potential MVP candidates is a man that makes a lot of headlines off the court as well as on the court.

#17 Jimmy Butler

Guard/Forward, Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler entered the NBA in 2011 with a huge chip on his shoulder. Butler was not recruited out of high school and had to go play basketball at a community college for one season before Marquette brought him on board. He would go on to play quite well for the Golden Eagles over the next 3 years but when the NBA came calling, he was overlooked once again. Butler would fall all the way to 30th overall in the 2011 NBA draft and the chip on his shoulder would only grow from there. Butler would play 6 seasons for the team that drafted him, the Chicago Bulls, before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves because he openly criticized the team direction. After 1 year as a member of the T-Wolves, Butler would have one of the strangest off-seasons in NBA history. During that 1 year with the T-Wolves though, Butler would once again publicly criticize his teammates and once the season ended and they were bounced from the playoffs, Butler did not fly back home with the team. During the off-season, Butler would refuse to sign a max contract offer from the T-Wolves and would not show up to the team practices and meetings. When Butler finally arrived at camp, he instantly demanded to be traded to New York, Brooklyn, or LA. Social media would light ablaze as members of the T-Wolves roster would post messages like, “Hallelujah,” to which Butler would respond with similar sentiments. Butler would finally suit up for practice a couple of weeks before the regular season starts and reportedly lead a team of 3rd-string players to victory over the starters in a scrimmage. Butler would then reportedly cuss out the teams GM, saying that this team needs Butler if they want to win. Butler would call a players-only meeting to tell his teammates that he’ll play until he gets traded. Then, after playing in 10 games for the T-Wolves, Butler was granted his trade request. But not to a team he wanted to be traded to. Butler would finish last season as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers and help lead the team to playoffs where they would lose to the eventual NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. Butler would then do a sign-and-trade to become a member of the Miami Heat for this upcoming 2019-2020 season. All the craziness aside, Butler is 2x All-NBA player, 4x All-Star, 4x All-Defensive player, and the winner of the Most Improved Player award for the 2014-2015 season. Butler had a PER of 20.29 (league average is 15.00) this past season as he is a reliable threat to score from anywhere on the court as well as being touted as one of the best defenders in the entire NBA.

Butler is currently at +7500 (Bovada) to win the NBA MVP award. Do you think Butler will win the MVP? Let me know in the comments below!

-Mitchell Seefeldt

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