Heat’s Jimmy Butler named to All-NBA Second Team for first time. Has this been his best season?

·5 min read

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler did not get voted into the NBA All-Star Game this season, but he did make the All-NBA cut.

Butler earned a spot on the All-NBA Second Team for the first time in his career, the league announced Wednesday. It marks the fifth time that he has made an All-NBA team, but the previous four times came as a Third-Team selection.

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Butler has now been selected for an All-NBA team in three of his first four seasons with the Heat, as he also earned the honor as a Third-Team member in 2019-20 and 2020-21. His first two All-NBA selections came on the Third Team in 2016-17 with the Chicago Bulls and Third Team in 2017-18 with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Butler, who did not get voted into the All-Star Game this season in part because of a chunk of games he missed during the first few months of the schedule, received one First-Team vote, 52 Second-Team votes and 21 Third-Team votes. He also made an All-NBA team after not being selected for the All-Star Game in the 2020-21 season.

Heat center Bam Adebayo was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Time this week for the fourth consecutive season, but he’s still waiting to make an All-NBA team for the first time in his career.

In this season’s All-NBA voting, Adebayo did not receive a First-Team or Second-Team vote, but earned nine Third-Team votes to finish as the fifth center overall.

Only six different Heat players have been voted onto an All-NBA team in franchise history: Tim Hardaway (First Team in 1996-97 and Second Team in 1997-98 and 1998-99); Alonzo Mourning (First Team in 1998-99 and Second Team in 1999-00); Shaquille O’Neal (First Team in 2004-05 and 2005-06); Dwyane Wade (First Team in 2008-09 and 2009-10, Second Team in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2010-11 and Third Team in 2006-07, 2011-12 and 2012-13); LeBron James (First Team in 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14); and Butler (Second Team in 2022-23, and Third Team in 2019-20 and 2020-21).

The All-NBA First Team includes Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwauke Bucks, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

The All-NBA Second Team is made up of Jaylen Brown of the Celtics, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Butler.

The All-NBA Third Team features De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings, James of the Los Angeles Lakers, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Julius Randle of the New York Knicks and Domantas Sabonis of the Kings.

The All-NBA teams were selected by a panel of media members, who select two guards, two forwards and one center for each of the first, second and third teams. Voting concluded at the end of the regular season and prior to the start of the playoffs.

Butler, 33, just completed, arguably, the best regular season of his NBA career. He averaged 22.9 points (the second-most of his NBA career), 5.9 rebounds (fourth-most in his career), 5.3 assists (fifth-most in his career) and 1.8 steals (sixth-most in his career) per game while shooting a career-best 53.9 percent from the field in 64 games this regular season.

Butler has elevated his game to an even higher level this postseason. He entered Wednesday’s Game 5 against the New York Knicks averaging 33.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three-point range in eight games during this year’s playoffs.

“I think it’s been his best, most impactful year even during the regular season,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday morning when asked if he believes this has been the best season of Butler’s NBA career. “But I think you can also make a case in his four years with us, each year he’s gotten better and more impactful. That says a lot, he was already one of the best players on this planet before he even entered our building. It’s a credit to his continued growth.”

Butler’s three-year, $146.4 million extension with the Heat begins next season and keeps him under contract with the team through the 2025-26 season when he’ll be 36 years old. Butler has already established himself as one of the greatest players in Heat history.

“He’s played a different kind of role in four straight years for us,” Spoelstra continued on Butler. “That’s also not easy to do for a veteran player. You want to kind of stay in your comfort zone usually. The first year, he basically played point guard for us. The second year, he played the four even though he didn’t love that title and last year a little bit more of his normal position. This year, it’s been one through four. I’m glad he’s on our side and I’m glad people are recognizing it’s not just about gaudy stats, it’s about impacting winning. He does that at a super-high level.”