Heat center Meyers Leonard: ‘We have the best player in this series’

Heat star Jimmy Butler and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
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The Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo, who’s reigning MVP, near lock to repeat as MVP and 2020 Defensive Player of the Year.

The Heat have Jimmy Butler.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Meyers Leonard is obviously trying to be provocative.

He’s also right. Butler has soundly outperformed Antetokounmpo in this series.

Butler has scored with high volume and even higher efficiency. Butler has controlled Miami’s offensive flow. Butler has played sharp defense and made winning plays all over the floor.

To be fair, some of this is about expectations. Antetokounmpo is still averaging 23 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists per game in this second-round series. But it’s not just about Antetokounmpo falling below his regular-season standards. He has too often looked uncomfortable offensively, and the Heat are finding shots in spaces Antetokounmpo can’t disrupt as a help defender.

The series isn’t over, and Antetokounmpo could still wind up the best player in it. But with Milwaukee down 3-0, time is running out – especially with Antetokounmpo hobbled.