- The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers will face off for game 1 of the NBA Finals tonight.
- Media outlets have dubbed Jimmy Butler a “stopper” and “kryptonite” of LeBron James.
- While he has fared better than many, James has outplayed him, and it’s not even close.
Jimmy Butler is a smart guy. That’s why he’s not giving any credence to the claims that he’s a LeBron James stopper.
He knows James doesn’t need any extra motivation in these finals. And more importantly, he knows the truth. Jimmy Butler has never stopped LeBron James. He’s only gotten in his way before getting plowed over.
Watch him acknowledge James’ consistency:
Heat’s Jimmy Butler on Lakers’ LeBron James: “You have to go through him at (age) 26, at 35, probably at 49. … It’s not going to be an easy task these next couple games. If anyone is up for that task, it’s the Miami Heat.” pic.twitter.com/CK9HXt72Qs
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 29, 2020
The Hype About Jimmy Butler vs. LeBron James
The hype around Jimmy Butler is getting out of hand. One article by 247sports goes so far as to claim that:
Jimmy Butler is LeBron James’ kryptonite.
Then there are videos like this one from “Coach Nick”:
It’s seven years old but still one of the top results when you search “Jimmy Butler LeBron James” on YouTube. He claims that Butler is the best LeBron defender in the NBA, and it’s no doubt influenced legions of confused fans.
The arguments behind the 247 article point to Jimmy Butler’s regular-season success against James.
‘Coach Nick’s’ breakdown relied on the premise that Butler could ‘body’ up LeBron James as well as anybody. But in the seven years since that claim, only one of these stars has swelled in muscle size and strength, and it’s not Jimmy Butler.
The Truth About LeBron James
Jimmy Butler has had above-average regular-season success against LeBron James. According to Land of Basketball, Butler is 14-9 against James in the regular season.
But James has been to 10 finals and won three of them. Butler will be participating in his first finals appearance ever this week. The regular season means nothing right now. Just ask Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Ahead of his 10th NBA Finals appearance, we showcase @KingJames‘ BEST PLAY from 9 previous appearances!
Game 1 of the #NBAFinals presented by YouTube TV begins TONIGHT at 9:00 PM ET on ABC. pic.twitter.com/zltFOOTvwm
— NBA (@NBA) September 30, 2020
James is 8-3 against Butler in the playoffs. He knocked out Butler’s Bulls while he was in Miami and his second stint in Cleveland. He didn’t allow Butler’s teams to get past the conference semifinals.
And yes, LeBron was slightly below his standard in those series, but he was also facing a supercharged Tom Thibodeau-led defense. You could argue that Joakim Noah was just as important in defending LeBron as Butler.
And just for good measure, the Lakers went 2-0 against the Heat this season and LeBron outplayed Butler in both games.
It Won’t Be Easy
But that doesn’t mean this series will be a cakewalk for the Lakers. Miami also features another purported “LeBron stopper” in Andre Iguodala. Bam Adebayo will be there to protect the paint. Some confused fans might even think Jae Crowder even has a shot, but LeBron James has embarrassed him before.
This should be a fun series to watch but don’t for a second believe that Jimmy Butler will be stopping LeBron James. It’s a myth, and it’s about to be busted.
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Sam Bourgi edited this article for CCN.com. If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us.