Jimmy Butler has proven himself right, and all the doubters wrong | Ball Don’t Lie

Yahoo Sports NBA writer Vince Goodwill is joined by NBA on TNT Reporter Jared Greenberg on the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast to share his story about Jimmy Butler from his time as a beat reporter for the Chicago Bulls, and how far Butler has come to prove himself as a difference maker in the NBA.

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Video Transcript

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- Here's my Jimmy Butler story. This is the 2015-'16 season, so this is Jimmy Butler, one-time going on two-time All-Star. So he's just barely scratching the surface of what we have come to see over the last seven or eight years. So Jared, he says to me, if you got me, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard, who would you take? Now, mind you, I'm the beat writer. I'm the new guy. And he says this.

Now, I could go and say and play to the crowd and say, yeah, Jimmy, I would take you and hopefully earn some brownie points.

- The answer is-- the correct answer is only Kawhi Leonard in 2015.

- The correct answer that day. I said, Jimmy, I would take you third. I would take Kawhi first, Paul second, and you third. And he looked at me.

- I love-- because he wasn't asking for an order. He said, who would you take? And you went as far as laying it out.

- Ain't no point being ambiguous about this, right? So the point is, I tell him that. He looks at me, and he says, I'm going to prove to you that you should take me first. So what does he do that year? That year, he does this miraculous tip over Paul George for a buzzer beater in Chicago. And then against San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard in the final seconds has a shot on Jimmy Butler to win a game. Butler blocks it.

After each time, he looks at me and points at me. I said to him, hey, I would still take those dudes, but the gap is not as far as I thought it was. And come today, I'm taking Jimmy Butler first. I said that last year after Jimmy missed that shot against Boston in game seven. I said I would still take him. I would take him first. I'm doubling down on that because that dude shows up in May and June. And maybe the regular season doesn't mean as much to him, but he turns into a different player, Jared, when the weather gets warm. He turns into a different version of a super player. And now you give them a very good chance of winning this thing because they've got him.