Stephen A. Smith’s Jimmy Butler-Damian Lillard take will outrage Heat fans

On Friday evening, Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat took on the Boston Celtics in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. Most pundits have labeled the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, fresh off of the acquisition of Damian Lillard, as the clear top two teams in the Eastern Conference despite Butler’s epic playoff run, leading the Heat all the way to the Finals a year ago.

Prior to the game, ESPN media personality Stephen A. Smith broke down how he sees the Eastern Conference hierarchy, including a debate on who is better: Jimmy Butler of the Heat or Damian Lillard of the Bucks.

“I love Jimmy Butler. Ain’t no way in hell he’s ever an option above Damian Lillard. Stop it! Stop it! No! He’s not!” exclaimed Stephen A. Smith to Michael Wilbon, who was in disbelief.

Smith’s reasoning for having Lillard, a player who has never won a game past the second round of the playoffs, over Butler, who has been the best player on multiple Heat NBA Finals teams, is a bit unclear at this point. Lillard’s game is definitely more aesthetically pleasing and flashy than Butler’s, but few if any players in the NBA can match the sheer production that Butler has generated throughout three out of his last four playoff runs with the Heat.

No, the Heat may not have as much talent as the revamped Celtics or Bucks on paper. However, they really didn’t last year, either, and we saw what happened then. Playoff Jimmy Butler is real, and with him in the mix, anything is possible.


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