There are a lot of fun storylines leading into this NBA season, but the Jimmy Butler drama in Minnesota has been dominating the headlines. Every time Shams or Woj tweets, I’m hoping for some Butler trade news.
I personally am a Butler fan because I am a Marquette alum, and have seen his rise to stardom from his first year in Milwaukee. While I don’t agree with the way he is handling business with the Minnesota Timberwolves, I do think he is a damn good basketball player. I knew the Wolves were not a good fit for him, as I predicted in January that he would bolt West. That being said, the question remains, is he worth the drama to a team looking for that last piece to win the title i.e. Rockets?
My answer is: Yes. First, we all know how valuable Butler is to the Timberwolves as a whole. Before he got injured last year, they were the No. 3 seed in the West, and rolling. Once he went down, things went south quickly. Second, the money. His contract is a paltry (by NBA standards, of course) $19,841,627 this season, a steal for a top-15 player of his caliber.
Being the gambler that I am, I wanted to take it on step further and look at Jimmy Buckets from a gambling perspective. All of this made me wonder: Just how much is Butler worth toward the point spread? Every NBA player is given a value toward the actual game point spread. While we all have our own thoughts on how valuable each player is to his team, you might be surprised by how oddsmakers perceive their values — Butler in this case — when making their game lines.
To find out just how much Butler impacts the point spread, I turned to Kevin Bradley and Jeff Sherman, sportsbook managers for Bovada and Westgate Superbook, respectively, for answers.
How much is Butler worth on a game-to-game basis for the Timberwolves?
Kevin: In terms of betting, Jimmy Butler is worth about 2-3 points on the spread for each game.
Jeff: 2.5 points per game.
How much is Butler worth over the season to the Timberwolves?
Kevin: Over a full season, Butler is worth about four wins for the Minnesota Timberwolves. While it may not seem like much, based on our current projections it’s the difference between making and missing the playoffs.
Jeff: 4 games for the season.
What would the Wolves over/ under be set at if he was not on the team?
Kevin: This is a bit tricky because we do not know what the return would be for him in a trade. If we take him off the team completely, we would have the Timberwolves Projected at 39.5 wins.
Jeff: It depends on return they get for the win total. If you just removed him from team I would set it at 39.5
Any new odds in regards to who the favorite is to trade for/ or sign him?
Kevin: The team and Butler seemed to come to an agreement yesterday that he will start the year with them, but the team still needs to be actively trying to trade him. So everything is down for now. I figure after he plays a few games, we will look at all the information out there and repost the odds.
Jeff: We cannot offer odds on where he might go, although it sounds probable to Miami at some point.
Both Jeff and Kevin seemed to be on the same page in regards to Butler. The only place they differed was the value of some of the other stars to their respective teams. Each has his own opinion, and you can be sure that there aren’t two sportsbooks out there that have the exact same numbers on every star player in the league.
Who are the top 3 other NBA stars in your book and how much are they worth to their respective teams?
Jeff: It’s relative on team’s depth. Anthony Davis (4.5), Giannis Antetokounmpo (4), LeBron James (4).
Well, there you have it, Butler is worth 2.5-3 points per game, so close to some of the other stars listed above. Just another example of public perception vs. the odds.