Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins says Jimmy Butler is a player ‘you want on your team’ when real games begin
After practice on Sunday, Wiggins told reporters Butler is a player you want on your side when the real games start. A four-time All-Star, Butler is one of the best two-way players in the NBA, and he has averaged at least 20 points per game four seasons in a row.
Andrew Wiggins: "All I know is when we start playing the real games, Jimmy is someone you want on your team."
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) October 14, 2018
When Butler practiced for the first time with the Timberwolves last week after requesting a trade, he reportedly went out of his way to challenge Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. The 29-year-old repeatedly yelled “they soft, they soft” during the scrimmage, and most of the players on the team knew Butler was referring to Wiggins and Towns. However, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Wiggins did give Butler a hand dap before Butler left practice.
Butler reportedly had issues with Wiggins’ work ethic and approach on defense last season. After averaging a career-high 23.6 points per game during the 2016-17 season, Wiggins’ scoring output dropped to 17.7 in 2017-18 with the addition of Butler. There were many instances where it looked like Wiggins was going through the motions and not fully engaged on the court, something Butler won’t tolerate since he’s such a rugged player.
Wiggins is absolutely right when he says Jimmy Butler is a guy who you want on your squad. Last season when Butler went to the bench, the Timberwolves’ offensive rating dropped from 116.6 to 110.6, and opponents’ offensive rating jumped by 7.2 points when Butler wasn’t on the floor.
In 59 regular-season games last year, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc. He helped the Timberwolves clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2004.