Miami Heat star wing Jimmy Butler has been playing at an incredibly high level this postseason. His playoff numbers are up across the board compared to the regular season, most notably his scoring average, which has increased from 22.9 points per game to 28.5. The Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and Boston Celtics all threw various defensive coverages at Butler these playoffs to try to take him off his game, but to no avail.
But despite Butler's playoff heroics these last few months, Stephen A. Smith isn't ready to crown him as the NBA's toughest cover. On a recent episode of First Take, Jay Williams argued that Jimmy Butler is harder to guard than LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and Stephen A. Smith shot down this notion, per a tweet from ClutchPoints' official Twitter account:
Molly Qerim: "Is Butler harder to guard than LeBron [James] and [Kevin Durant]?"
Jay Williams: "Yes. This year he is. There's no doubt about it."
Stephen A. Smith: "Jimmy Butler is great… But harder to guard than KD? Harder to guard than LeBron?" 😆pic.twitter.com/aR0uobfqJg
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 1, 2023
Jimmy Butler, 33, is in his 12th year in the NBA and fourth as a member of the storied Miami Heat franchise. He averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.3 blocks, 1.6 turnovers, and 1.3 personal fouls per game across 64 appearances this season (all starts).
The former Marquette star shot the ball with great accuracy from the field in the 2022-23 campaign — Butler's 53.9% field-goal percentage was the highest of his pro career by a wide margin.
Butler isn't the pure scorer that Kevin Durant is or the playmaker that LeBron James is, but he is still an incredibly tough cover. The Nuggets have to be aware of where Jimmy Butler is on the court at all times because he's a constant threat to score the ball from practically anywhere on the floor.