OKC Thunder set to benefit from Jimmy Butler drama

Sam Presti, Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Richard Rowe/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Presti, Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Richard Rowe/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder set to benefit from Jimmy Butler drama (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images) /

Loss of Intangibles

Every NBA team needs blue collar players who bring the intangibles. Grind, effort, hustle and heart are qualities often overlooked but are integral parts of a successful team. For Oklahoma City, those responsibilities rest largely with Roberson and Kiwi Steven Adams. For Minnesota, that rests solely with Taj Gibson and Butler.

When the chips are down, whose going to carry the Wolves now?

Former player and NBA Champion Stephen Jackson calls out Andrew Wiggins and his brother Nick Wiggins for a tweet celebrating Butler’s request for a trade.

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If there is one thing we learned from last season, these qualities are needed. The Thunder’s 2017-18 season is testament to the lack of heart, hustle and effort, particularly when Dre went down.

One thing is for certain, Butler’s grinding style of play helped the Wolves make the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04. Minnesota won more than 45 games for the first time in 14 seasons.

Effect on the Northwest Division

In an article published by Thunderous Intentions writer Tamberlyn Richardson, oddsshark listed Oklahoma City as the 2-1 favorite to win the Northwest Division. However depending on what pieces they receive in return for Butler, OKC are set to solidify its position as the favorites to win the division.

Minnesota currently sit at 5-1 based on the premise that Butler will miss games due to injury.

"The Jimmy Butler situation in Minnesota is something to monitor because it could be the difference between the T-Wolves winning the division or finishing in the bottom five of the league. Minnesota was a decent team last year with Butler on the floor as they went 38-21 SU with him in the lineup compared to 10-13 SU without him. Butler has been reportedly unhappy with the work ethic of some of his teammates and with him being in a contract year, the Timberwolves may need to cut bait and try to deal him so they don’t lose him in the offseason for nothing. This at +500 is a stay-away for me as Butler is bound to miss games (only played more than 70 games in a season once in his career) and there’s too much other competition within the division."

With Butler likely to be on another team before the start of the 2018-19 season, these odds are surely to drop.

Final Say

For all Oklahoma City fans, this is a blessing. Prior to Butler’s arrival to Minnesota, the Wolves struggled to win 40 games let alone make the playoffs. His impact on the team is undeniable while a Wiggins-KAT lead squad struggles to win games in the clutch.

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With the Northwest division loaded with talent, Butler’s departure increases OKC’s odds of winning the division and solidifying a high seed for a home playoff run.