Stephen A. Smith’s take on Jimmy Butler left basketball fans heated during Friday’s episode of First Take.

Smith opined that Butler, whose team faces a 2–1 deficit to the Nuggets in the NBA Finals, isn’t the right fit to be the best player on a championship team.

“Jimmy is a star, make no mistake about it, and he’s a closer … but as JJ Redick pointed out the other day, a lot of his successes is predicated on getting to the free throw line,” Smith said. “When your success offensively is so predicated on that component, I don’t think it bodes well for that to be the leading individual to guide you to a championship.”

Smith did soften his comments, saying that Butler could win a championship, but that his style of play makes it “not ideal” and “in most instances, it doesn’t measure up to snuff.”

Still, fans weren’t having it, pointing out the Heat’s consistent success in the postseason with Butler on the roster and the fact that Miami still only trails in this series by one game.


Smith’s take will get put to the test Friday, when the Heat face the Nuggets in a critical Game 4 in Miami. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET.