Jimmy Butler has continued to be the talk of the NBA after a tumultuous offseason.
After reportedly asking the Minnesota Timberwolves for a trade prior to the season, Butler has still shown up and helped carry the offensive load for the team. Despite the criticism, Butler has made it clear that he isn’t changing his style of play while he remains with the Timberwolves.
“I don’t change the way that I play,” Butler told Sam Amick of The Athletic, “I love the game of basketball, man. I ride with these guys in this locker room. They know that. If I’ve got something to say to them, I will say it. You may not like the way that it comes across. That’s fine. But that’s who I am.
“Like, you can’t judge the way I do things, whether you like it or not, because I think that that’s the best way that I know how to express myself and how to get you to do what I’m asking you to do, and however you want me to do what you ask me to do. It’s how you go about it.”
Butler has sat out in three of Minnesota’s 13 games thus far. However, when he has been in the lineup, it’s safe to say that he’s embodied the spirit of a workhorse.
In six of the team’s games, Butler has played at least 37 minutes and only had one game in which he played under 30 minutes. In addition, the former Marquette standout has played at least 41 minutes in each of the past two contests.
On Friday, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that Butler was slated to “loosely” play 32 minutes per game going forward. Obviously, that didn’t end up being the game plan against the Sacramento Kings on Friday as Butler logged 41 minutes in a 121-110 loss.
“Once again, nobody talked to me about nothing,” Butler said. “That’s just stuff that’s being written. I haven’t talked about minutes with nobody. I just go out there and I just play. I get lost in the game, and I want to win, and I don’t even realize that it turns into 41. I wouldn’t realize if it was 48 because I’m just out there and I’m competing.
“Yeah, we’ve got f—— guys who can play,” Butler adamantly told The Athletic. “We’ve got to instill confidence in everybody. I think my confidence is high enough. I want all my guys to be successful, man. I want all these guys to play. Is that a convo (with Thibodeau) that I’ve got to have? Yeah, and then everybody wants to talk about how the motherf—–‘s not healthy [he said of himself]. Well God damn, we’re playing 41, 43, 44 (minutes per game), it takes a toll on top of all the work that I do that don’t nobody even see. We’ll fix it. We’ll do something. We’ll talk.”
After all, the Timberwolves wasted a 39-point effort from star center Karl-Anthony Towns against the Kings. As a team, Minnesota shot under 42 percent from the field and Butler himself scored just 13 points in the loss.
Butler obviously has a deep drive to play the best he possibly can, averaging 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists while knocking down 37.8 percent of his shots from three. Butler has scored at least 20 points in eight of the Timberwolves games so far.
It’s unclear if Minnesota is still fielding trade calls for Butler, but that’s not something that he’s concerned about. As the regular season rolls along, the only certainty is that Butler is going to give everything he has to his team despite some rocky moments over the past few months.