Jimmy Butler Explains Why Giannis Antetokounmpo Won’t Guard Him
Jimmy Butler explained why Giannis Antetokounmpo can’t and won’t guard him during a recent interview.
It comes down to pure defensive strategy.
“I look at it like this,” Butler said.
“He is one of the best help-side defenders that there are in the league. And that’s what he’s been doing all year long. And I think you can’t get stuck on what we do. I think you’ve really just got to focus on what you do – you’ve been doing it all year.”
So not only was Butler not surprised that Antetokounmpo didn’t guard him, the 30-year-old doesn’t see that changing in Game 2.
“If he switches out…and he’s guarding me, you know we’re going to do what we have to do to still win,” Butler continued.
“But I’m gonna tell you, you’re not going to be able to leave me, so then that’s taking away their weakside defense. So either way it goes, we’re gonna be in a good spot. We’ve got way more guys who can do what I just did last night better than I can do, so we’ll see.”
One of the big storylines to emerge from the Miami Heat’s surprising upset victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 was Antetokounmpo’s reluctance to switch over to Butler, even when he was lighting the opposition up late.
Giannis is getting roasted by multiple NBA players for being scared to stick Jimmy Butler. https://t.co/fhPpToep4U
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 1, 2020
After the game, Antetokounmpo was asked whether he considered sticking Butler at any point, and he took extreme offense to the question.
“To guard him?” he snapped.
“No, I didn’t. Why would you ask that? I’ll do whatever coach wants me to do.”
Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo on whether he asked to switch onto Heat’s Jimmy Butler during late-game explosion: “To guard him? No, I didn’t. Why would you ask that? I’ll do whatever coach wants me to do.” pic.twitter.com/IFpR5pk1s1
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 1, 2020
Game 2 between the Heat and Bucks is set for Wednesday. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Antetokounmpo and his teammates make defensively to ensure that Butler doesn’t go off on them for 40 again.