Skip to main content

Jimmy Butler explains who is the toughest player he guarded in the NBA

butler (1) (1)

In a recent interview for The Player's Tribune, Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler talked about the five toughest players to guard in the NBA. Butler is having a great season so far with the Miami Heat and is still one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Butler's assignment apart from scoring the basketball is to guard the best shooting guards and small forwards on the opposing team, and his defense is something he was known for since he came to the NBA.

Butler said the toughest players to guard in the NBA are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Stephen Curry. Despite all their greatness, according to Butler, the toughest one to guard is none other than James Harden. That doesn't come as much of a surprise if you been paying close attention to him playing basketball this season. Butler thinks Harden's biggest strength is that he is continuously adding new moves to his repertoire, which frustrates defenders who no longer know how to defend him. 

"Step-back. Floater. Euro step. He has so much in his package, and he's always hitting tough shots. I mean, he's creating new sh*t in the off-season where he's shooting one-legged, step-back, side-step … pretty soon he's gonna do a handstand and kick the motherf***er in the basket. I'm just being real. This is what James Harden does."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Butler is fully aware of all the moves Harden is capable of doing, but the step back became his most recognizable even though he wasn't the one who invented it, but he perfected it. A lot of people think Harden travels on those step-backs, but Butler's mindset is that if the refs don't call, then it's not a travel. 

"Everything he does starts with his step-back. He's legendary for it. Some people say it's a travel. I say if the ref doesn't call it, I'm all for it. Find a way to stop it, travel or not. But his whole attack is built off that step-back. He hangs the ball out there and teases you with it, and then he waits for you to make a move. He's reading you. Whatever you decide to do, he's got a counter for it. Because if you give him too much space, he's gonna take the step-back, and probably make it. If you get too close to him — if you try to get up into him and take the shot away — he's either going to lean into you and draw a foul or blow right by you and take it to the basket."

Harden is currently leading the NBA with 37.7 points per game, and scoring 40 or 50 points has become a standard for him. Butler thinks there is no real game plan for him because you know he is going to give you 40 with ease.

"He's one of those guys you game plan for. Like you go into the game saying, "We're not gonna let James drop 40 on us. And he still drops 40 on you."

Doc Rivers nearly left the Clippers for the Lakers

Doc Rivers once nearly left the Los Angeles Clippers for the Los Angeles Lakers

If Doc Rivers did end up moving to the Lakers, would they have beaten their opponents the way they did in 2020? No one knows, but it's fair to say Frank Vogel was the better coach in the Bubble.

Difference between Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant

Difference between Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant -- one soldiers on while the other whines about dirty plays

Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant received the same borderline dirty fouls that resulted in injuries. But their reactions were different from one another.

pistol-pete-maravich-min

Pete Maravich shares who is the greatest basketball player of all time

"He is not really the best passer, I don't think, he's not the best dribbler, he's not the best shooter, he's not the best scorer. He's just the very best."

From being undrafted to a Playoff starter: The journey of Miami Heat guard Max Strus for everyone

From being undrafted to a Playoff starter: Max Strus' NBA journey is a lesson for everyone

Miami Heat are the only team that decided to gamble on Max Strus, and safe to say that ended up paying dividends

skip-bayless-wife-lebron-james

Skip Bayless's wife is a fan of LeBron James: "I would like to meet him"

You know this one hurts deep for the most notorius LeBron hater out there.

LaVar Ball wants Kyrie Irving to join the Big Baller Brand

LaVar Ball invites Kyrie Irving to join Big Baller Brand: "You can have all the control you want!"

As Nike and Kyrie Irving appear to head in different ways, Lavar Ball uses this opportunity to lure the Brooklyn Nets star and join the Big Baller Brand.

Trae Young reacts to Ben Simmons passing up the wide open layup against him

Trae Young defends Ben Simmons for passing up the layup on him: "I hate how people talk about how bad of a player he is"

It's comical to think Ben Simmons got intimidated by Trae Young but the Atlanta Hawks point guard offers a different view on why the Philadephia 76ers forward passed up on a wide-open attempt.