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Who Will Rise Above: Jokic or Butler?

Star Power on Display in NBA Finals

No one is making their NBA predictions without factoring in the Nikola Jokic vs Jimmy Butler debate.

They are the best players for the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat, respectively, and how they play could determine who wins the NBA championship.

Who Will Rise Above: Jokic or Butler?
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat - Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

The sportsbook has the Nuggets favored to win, so there is a lot of pressure on the NBA Finals debutante. Whereas Butler has been in this position before and he knows what it takes.

Generational Talent

Jokic is a one-of-a-kind talent, unlike we have ever seen before in the NBA.

The Serbian 28-year-old was not expected to dominate the NBA after being drafted in the second round by the Nuggets in 2014. Although it has taken a few years, the five-time All-Star has hit dizzying heights.

The two-time NBA MVP is the antithesis of a modern center. He not only scores inside and outside the paint, but he’s also one of the best passers in the game, making him virtually unguardable.

Jokic is averaging a triple-double in the postseason: 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists.

We’re not sure how the Miami Heat, who are already a small team, are going to guard Jokic. He could have a field day on the offensive end, and getting offensive rebounds could be his bread and butter.

Our NBA picks expect him to average close to a triple-double throughout the NBA Finals. He comes off a triple-double in Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers, who had much more size than the Heat, so that’s an excellent sign for the Nuggets.

He had a stat line of 30/14/13 in the series clincher against the Lakers, his second triple-double in his last three games, so he’s red-hot, and ready to show the world how he has matured in the nine years he has been in the NBA.

“[Denver’s offense] is a little bit of everything,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “It’s a talented team. Very few one-trick ponies make it this far. They are able to put pressure on you in the paint, pressure on you from the 3-point line with very capable shooters, some of which are elite. You’ve just got to be ready to give multiple efforts.”

Everything Denver does runs through Jokic, and you wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s a reason why the Nuggets are favorites to win with sport betting markets, and Jokic is it.

Playoff Jimmy is a Beast

The title infers that Butler isn’t a beast during the regular season, but that’s not the case. However, when playoff time rolls around, he elevates his game to another level.

The Heat’s most important player, Butler controls the flow of the game and he never looks out of control, which is why the Heat have had so much success with Butler at the helm.

Coming with a wealth of experience, the 33-year-old has yet to win an NBA championship, but he has been to the Finals and that can’t be overlooked.

Our NBA expert picks would have no chance of picking the Heat to win without Butler on the roster. He’s the glue for the team, and he’s not only bringing his experience to the table.

Butler comes off a 28-point performance in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics on the road. It was another inspired playoff performance from the former first-round pick, who shot better than 50% from the field during the season.

He selects his shots and doesn’t force it. That’s what’s so great about Butler, and it feeds throughout the team. The Heat are not going to score 130 points, but they’ll grind away, defend and force you into submission.

Miami is led by Butler, who didn’t want to hold the Eastern Conference trophy because he wants to hold the Larry O’Brien Trophy instead.

The one thing that never changed with Jimmy, and this is why he moved as much as he did: Not because he wasn’t a great player, but because he demands everyone else play the way he plays. It’s hard to play with a man who does not accept mediocrity,” NBA talent scout Van Coleman said.

Online gambling odds have the Heat as underdogs to win, but that’s exactly when Butler and the Heat do their best work.

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