Agent makes case for Sixers’ Jimmy Butler as a franchise player
Jimmy Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, made the case for his client’s prospect as a franchise player ahead of a free-agency stint that could see him get close to $190 million in a long-term deal, something the Philadelphia 76ers must gauge soon after the end of the season.
While other agents are quick to list accolades like All-Star mentions, playoff appearances and All-NBA honors, Lee skipped away from awards and advanced statistics, summing it down to how he affects winning for a team.
“The other night after the game I stood in the back of the media room as JB did his media [obligations] and one of the reporters asked a question and a follow up on the theme of “you’re winning games but they are really close, what leads into that?” It was almost coming from the perspective that really good teams win games by larger margins or easier ways when the reality is the NBA is essentially a five points or less league — by that I mean, typically teams with plus-five point differentials win over 50 plus games and typically in my experience there are only about four-to-six teams a year with plus-five point differentials…
…In Jimmy’s entire career.. He’s been in 172 games that have been decided by five points or less and his team has won 98 of them, meaning in his entire career he’s won 57 percent of the games that essentially, in my opinion, define teams and organizations. In Philly, since he’s been there they have been in 18 of these games and won 12 for a 66 percent win percentage, and that’s pretty good. So for me you can highlight everything else, but that’s the substance that I point out and it’s why he’s going to be one of the most sought out free agents this summer and to me what makes him a “franchise guy.” …I can tell you in a league based on numbers, that one doesn’t lie and the sample size I’m using is over eight years… so when you talk about him, start and end there.”
Lee’s analysis of his client is parallel to what baseball uses to define value with Wins Above Replacement. Butler, more than anything, is a proven winner, whether it means leading his team in scoring or dishing out the key assists, getting a clutch steal or hitting the game-winning shot.
Butler has proved he’s willing to do what it takes, no matter the numbers, to spark his team to a win, which is what makes him such a high-caliber player.
Whether the Sixers feel he’s worth a long-term commitment is another question, but he’s at least worth the serious consideration given his track record.