Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Ignore the fact that I bleed red and white as well as my excitement about the arrival of an established star to the Miami Heat organization, but I firmly believe Jimmy Butler will be a starter in the 2020 All-Star Game. Due to a mid-season trade from a Western Conference team to an Eastern Conference team, Butler lost his All-Star eligibility this past season; that has only made him hungrier and he’s ready to take the league by storm.
Even as one of the top shooting guards/small forwards in the league, Butler still faces some tough competition. Given the positional fit, he will most likely start at small forward for the Heat and be treated as such in All-Star ballots. Kawhi Leonard, one of the starting forwards in last year’s game, is gone from the Eastern Conference, leaving Giannis Antetokounmpo as the other one remaining. Given the All-Star voting is as close to a popularity contest as you can have in the NBA, the reigning league MVP will most likely once again occupy a starting spot (not to mention he’s also a better player than Jimmy).
That leaves one starting slot open. Kevin Durant will be out with injury long enough for him to lose eligibility, regardless if he returns to the court this year; Blake Griffin and Khris Middleton were the only other East forwards last year; Pascal Siakam, Tobias Harris, and Al Horford are the other likely forwards in the East to garner All-Star consideration. Jimmy will do better than all of them.
For one, Butler is in the exact situation he desired: playing in South Beach as the clear-cut number one option but also surrounded with capable role players and young stars that will make his life easier. He is in a prime position to make his return as the most lethal two-way player in the league this year and record crazy good stats. Crowds will fall in love with Butler’s late-game heroics, giving Jimmy a boost in fan voting, while the media and his basketball peers will also recognize him and his invaluable efforts.
If I haven’t convinced you Jimmy Butler will be a 2020 All-Star Game starter, please let me know. I’ll be in your ear next February as the Heat happily make their way back to the NBA playoffs…