Their playoff series are different from one another. For example, the Miami Heat dispatched the Atlanta Hawks in five games while the Boston Celtics swept title-favorites Brooklyn Nets. But, given their team’s dominant showing, who is having better playoffs so far between the two superstars, Jimmy Butler and Jayson Tatum?
Butler and Tatum leading their teams
The Heat and Celtics will go as far as Jimmy Butler and Jayson Tatum take them, and based on their first-round performances, they are bound for an epic battle. Butler is doing Butler things: scoring buckets and defending. He missed Game 5 due to right knee inflammation, but the Heat still took care of business. Even though he wasn’t there to close out the series, Jimmy Buckets was instrumental in building a 3-1 lead over the Hawks.
Butler tallied a 36-point, 10-rebound effort in Game 4 and scored 45 points on 15-for-25 shooting in Game 2. His series averages against Atlanta: 30.5 points on 63.6% true shooting, 7.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.8 steals. JJ Redick can’t help but give credit to where it is due.
Meanwhile, Tatum has also been a monster for his team, and his performances should give Redick a quick reminder not to jump to conclusions that fast. Boston swept preseason title favorites Brooklyn Nets with a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the lineup. No one expected the sweep, but Tatum and his teammates sent a message to the rest of the teams in the playoffs: be careful who you wish to play against.
With the way the Boston Celtics started the season, they shouldn't even be in the playoffs or the first team to enter the second round. The C's were able to flip the script after the All-Star in February, and there was no turning back for them. Against the Nets, Jayson averaged 29.7 points and 8.0 assists per game. More importantly, he put a clamp on KD and tallied 5.7 deflections per game in their series. Talk about stepping up big time on both ends of the floor.
Who’s having better playoffs so far?
The Heat closed their series without Jimmy Butler. The extra days will help the star player recover from injury, but Jayson Tatum takes the crown in this argument simply because of this factor: without Tatum’s defense and offense, it could have been a different story for Boston vs. Brooklyn.
Roster-wise, Miami is deeper on paper. Butler will do Butler things in the postseason, but because he didn’t have to exert that much and Tatum had to put extra effort on his team, the latter means more to the Boston Celtics than Butler is to the Heat.
This is not to say Butler’s defense had been average. Instead, he excelled on both ends of the floor, too. But Tatum's contributions seemed to have a more significant impact because they swept their opponents while Atlanta was able to win one against Miami.
If they play their cards right, Tatum and Butler will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. At stake is a Finals berth. So far, they deserved such an outcome.