Before I could even say hello, Jimmy Butler knew where I lived.
Butler has a reputation for being a smart interview, but he might just be the most perceptive person in basketball. In fact, the first time I hear his voice on our call, he yells out “You from Buffalo, New York?” Turns out he recognized the area code, 716, from my phone number. He used to have one, too, because he had a teammate at Marquette, Lazar Hayward, who grew up in Buffalo.
Butler’s vision and anticipation have paid dividends in his basketball career, especially this season as he gets used to a new city and a new team. His trade from Chicago to the Minnesota Timberwolves was the first in a long series of moves that rocked the NBA landscape this summer, but as the basketball world settles in for winter it’s clear that Butler and the new-look Timberwolves will be a force in the Western Conference.
The former Marquette standout is a big part of that force, teaming up with Karl-Anthony Towns and his former coach in Chicago, Tom Thibodeau, in a bid to build a contender in Minnesota. He’s still getting used to being the new kid in town.
Butler talked with Uproxx about getting comfortable in the Twin Cities, learning about his new teammates and the value of a familiar face behind the bench.