Stephen A. Smith’s take on Jimmy Butler left basketball fans heated during Friday’s episode of First Take.
Smith opined that Butler, whose team faces a 2–1 deficit to the Nuggets in the NBA Finals, isn’t the right fit to be the best player on a championship team.
“Jimmy is a star, make no mistake about it, and he’s a closer … but as JJ Redick pointed out the other day, a lot of his successes is predicated on getting to the free throw line,” Smith said. “When your success offensively is so predicated on that component, I don’t think it bodes well for that to be the leading individual to guide you to a championship.”
.@stephenasmith doesn't think Jimmy Butler can be the best player on a championship team 👀— First Take (@FirstTake) June 9, 2023
"You think about superstars and what we usually get from those superstars in terms of offensive production, that's not Jimmy." pic.twitter.com/x2ejL8VjMV
Smith did soften his comments, saying that Butler could win a championship, but that his style of play makes it “not ideal” and “in most instances, it doesn’t measure up to snuff.”
Still, fans weren’t having it, pointing out the Heat’s consistent success in the postseason with Butler on the roster and the fact that Miami still only trails in this series by one game.
Jimmy Butler has a chance to tie up a series 2-2 in the NBA Finals tonight, yet the convo is like he just got swept in the first round? https://t.co/Zzyr8QGHCv— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) June 9, 2023
Jimmy Butler has as many 40+ playoff games as Luka, Giannis, Curry, Rick Barry,— i. adan (@Imman_Adan) June 9, 2023
more than Dirk, Wade, Kawhi, Bird, Tatum, Pierce.
If you lead a team to the finals, you’re good enough to win. Anything can break right/wrong once you make it there. https://t.co/8YxVoQso6V
Last time he said this Jimmy went off for 47-9-8 on a bum knee. https://t.co/ojBcAfynXF— Undrafteditis (@StubbornSpo) June 9, 2023
He has been the best player on a team that has gone to three ECF and two Finals in the past four years, and is literally in the Finals on your network tonight. What are we doing here? https://t.co/34Wiqiiwry— Yaya Dubin (@JADubin5) June 9, 2023
Smith’s take will get put to the test Friday, when the Heat face the Nuggets in a critical Game 4 in Miami. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET.