Jimmy Butler is one of the best success stories that we have seen in the NBA over the last decade or so. He was homeless for parts of his life when he was a teenager and wasn't heavily recruited coming out of high school either. He slowly began making a name for himself, though, first at Tyler Junior College and then at Marquette, but still, stardom at the professional level did not seem to be on the cards for the youngster.
Butler wasn't a highly regarded prospect entering the 2011 NBA Draft, and many had him as a second-round pick who might develop into a solid role player one day. His draft profile said as much, too, as the report stated that he wasn't particularly great at any aspect of the game.
"A well-rounded forward with great qualities for a future role-player... Good all-around player, but lacks any one great skill… Fits the "jack of all trades, master of none" mold … Not a stand-out athlete … Hasn’t proven that he can consistently create offense for himself … Not an isolation player, feeds off the play of his teammates … Could really open up his game by adding range to his jump shot … Hasn’t shown that he can be a consistent threat from behind the arc …"
The teams in the league didn't think too highly of Butler either, as he was selected by the Bulls at the bottom of the first round with the 30th pick. He had a slow start to life in the league too, but by the 2014-15 campaign, he had blossomed into a fine NBA player. He won Most Improved Player that season to go with his first All-Star selection to defy all pre-draft expectations and established himself as one of the better players in the league.
Since then, he has made 4 more All-Star teams and has led a team to the Finals as well in 2020. He has become such a valuable piece that the Heat weren't willing to include him in any trade package for Kevin Durant, something that would have seemed unthinkable when he entered the league. It speaks to Butler's work ethic that he has gotten to where he is at this point, and it should serve as inspiration to a lot of young hoopers who are struggling that they too stand a chance of making it big if they keep their head down and work hard on their game.