NBA Roundtable: Butler has Heat on the brink

Profile Picture: Ryan Murphy

September 21st, 2020

BetAmerica has teamed up with Covers and OddsChecker to break down the latest news and trends from around the Association. This week NBA columnists Jason LoganSam Farley and Ryan Murphy discuss the league's All-NBA picks, Jimmy Butler’s maturation, and which team deserves its own 10-part documentary.

Is it time for the league to ditch its All-NBA positional designations?

Jason: Yeah, just go with the best players. Centers aren’t centers anymore. Just look at Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic trading triples in Game 2 between the Nuggets and Lakers. A guy shouldn’t be shunned because there happens to be a surplus of stars at his position. It sounds like a good reason for a 1-on-1 tournament. 

Sam: I can see the argument why it should be done and it’s clear that the game is continually evolving, but I’d vote to keep them. I love the arguments and debate around who you’d pick at each position, and everything that comes with it. There’s certainly an argument that it’s flawed, but ultimately there’ll always be issues with however you make the picks.

Ryan: Absolutely. The NBA has been a postion-less league for close to a decade now, and it’s time for its top awards to reflect that. Sportswriters should be allowed to pick the five best players and reward them for their outstanding contributions rather than trying to conform to an outdated style of roster construction that was first envisioned over 125 years ago in a dusty YMCA.

How have the playoffs changed the way you view Jimmy Butler?

Jason: I don’t think my opinion of Butler has changed much at all. Maybe the way I view him as a leader is different. Butler has a bad rep for his intensity scorching the earth with teammates, but in today’s "friendly" NBA, I like when guys like Butler and Russell Westbrook genuinely don’t like their opponents. That can bleed over to the rest of the team and be that extra fuel you need to win in the postseason. Play pissed off, it’s the only way. You can be buddies after the confetti pops. 

Sam: I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Butler and had been a believer for some time, but even I’ll admit that I’ve altered my opinion of him. I wasn’t sure if he was good enough to be a team’s top star, and thought he’d be better suited playing alongside a true superstar. I was wrong though, as he’s thrived as "the man" and his intensity has helped lift those around him.

Ryan: Heading into the playoffs I viewed Jimmy Butler as hotheaded prima donna, but I’ve been impressed by how he’s emerged as a leader and has largely been able to keep his emotions in check. In years past, Butler let his intensity cloud his judgement and ruin relationships, but he’s now found a way of channeling his inner fire and is using it to inspire his teammates rather than alienate them. I’m still not convinced he’ll win a title this year, but he’s proven he can be a leader on a championship-caliber team.

The Last Dance just received an Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. Which NBA team would you like to see a series about next?

Jason: As a Lakers fan, it’s got to be the Shaq/Kobe L.A. dynasty. But, fandom aside, a really good one would be something on the 2010-2014 Miami Heat squad. LeBron, Wade, Chris Bosh, and how that all got started, drastically altered the NBA, and how it came to an end. Maybe not as much meat on the bone as that Lakers team for 10 episodes, but I’d watch the crap out of it.

Sam: The Last Dance gave us an opportunity to see the arguably the best player to ever do it, on the best team to ever do it. That won’t be topped, so I’d like to see something different. A study of James Dolan’s Knicks, a forensic analysis of every mistake that has ruined one of the sport’s biggest names in the best market. A true horror story of a documentary.

Ryan: I’ve always been fascinated by the 1990-91 Nuggets, whose strategy seemed to be making other teams shoot so much that their arms would fall off. Denver set a record by giving up 130.8 points per game that season and allowed opposing teams to score 150 points or more nine times. That’s all the more astounding when you consider the fact that the median scoring average that year was 106.3. Sure, the Nuggets lost 62 games and canned head coach Paul Westhead a year later, but their high octane shoot-outs were must-see TV for anyone that loved fastbreaks and loathed defense.