“My old team,” Jimmy Butler snapped back at CEO of The Ringer, Bill Simmons, when Simmons, a big Celtics fan, referenced “his team” playing against “Jimmy’s team.”
The podcast was recorded at Butler’s California home in what is yet another great get for Simmons who continues to engage phenomenal guests in real conversation — including Kevin Durant in the wee hours of the morning following Game 5 of the Finals.
The Butler podcast was no different.
Simmons directs the conversation through free agent recruiting, player feuds, playing cards, and, of course, his Celtics all before touching on the Timberwolves. But at the 33 minute mark Butler begins commending the work ethic of Karl-Anthony Towns.
On Karl-Anthony Towns:
“He can play. He can go. And he works. I'm texting him, calling him, checking in on him. ‘What's going on?’ … ‘Oh, I’m heading to the gym. I’m leaving the gym.’ I like to hear that. I know that you’re getting it in. You want to be great. You want to win. You want to win a championship. You want to do what’s right for Minnesota.”
On Andrew Wiggins:
He also goes on to suggest that Andrew Wiggins also has an elite level of passion and drive for the game of basketball. Comparing the level of passion in Towns and Wiggins games seems a bit preposterous for those of us following the team, but Butler certainly has an angle we do not.
“I know how passionate he is about the game. And his drive and his work ethic. And how he wants to win. When you have that as a young guy you have it. You can’t really teach that.”
While Butler doesn’t feel the need to teach passion to Wiggins he does feel that his presence will help show Wiggins how to be an improved defender.
“He has all the tools to be a terrific defender. But it’s different whenever someone is just telling you something all the time and someone is showing you.”
When Simmons referred to Wiggins as a “heat check guy,” Butler responded, “If you make shots, I want you to heat check.”
On Jeff Teague:
“He can shoot it. He’s tremendous in the pick and roll. And getting out in the open floor. I’m tellin’ ya, we’re gonna be fine.”
On going back to Chicago:
“I think I’ll get some love.... But no, I’m not gonna cry.”
On moving to Minnesota:
“All the country concerts do come to Minnesota. So I’ll get to do that... I get to move out a little bit into the ‘burbs to where I don’t have to hit all that traffic. My house is gonna be a nice size out there for a lot less money.”
“You don’t actually have to be outside in Minnesota. They got these skyways that go over the city and it’s like eight miles.”
Simmons proceeds to rip on the history of the franchise referencing the ‘04 “KG Team” as the highlight of the franchise. Which isn’t true, but came off a bit abrasive. Butler rolled with it, suggesting the downtrodden history of the franchise leads to a great many “what ifs.” This left a positive vibe and something that hinted at excitement for Butler.
On Tom Thibodeau and his antics:
“That’s my guy. He’s just always studying the game and ways in which he can improve as a coach. Obviously the guy wants to win so he’s studying everybody else. I think he expects you to be the same way. Maybe get a little bit more sleep than he gets. But you gotta study, you gotta wanna be great at your craft, and have a willingness to sacrifice things to be that. And whenever you do that, and he’s seeing you doing it that’s when you get the respect of that man. He’s not giving you anything. I would know. I did not play my first couple of years in the league. But I was always working and eventually, I got my shot.”
An overall great conversation that give you an insight, through Simmons, of who Jimmy Butler is. Here is the full podcast description, with time stamps.
HBO and The Ringer's Bill Simmons brings on NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler to give his thoughts on his exit from the Bulls (4:00), D-Wade's impact (11:00), tampering in the NBA offseason (18:00), idolizing the Jordan brand (26:00), Karl-Anthony Towns's unique skill set (31:00), his return to Chicago next season (37:00), Thibs’ love for basketball (43:00), secret pick-up games in L.A. (53:00), and D-Rose's next destination (1:05:00). Then, The Ringer's Mallory Rubin joins to discuss the long-awaited return of 'Game of Thrones' (1:15:00).