Erik Spoelstra believes Jimmy Butler would be included in the MVP discussion under normal circumstances.
"I think if we had a complete year... Jimmy Butler would have to be in that conversation for MVP," the Miami Heat coach told reporters while pointing to the inconsistencies of the team's rotation during the start of the campaign.
Miami had a short offseason after reaching the NBA Finals in the Walt Disney World Resort bubble, and every team is playing just 72 games this season instead of the typical 82 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Butler is not widely considered an MVP candidate, especially when stacked up against contenders such as Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Chris Paul.
However, he has still been impressive and is averaging 21.5 points, 7.2 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game behind 49.3 percent shooting from the field this season. While he is shooting just 20.4 percent from deep, he is someone who can impact the game a number of ways on both ends of the floor.
The five-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA selection and four-time All-Defensive selection carried the Heat to the NBA Finals last season, but the team has struggled with consistency in 2020-21.
Miami is 35-30, which is good enough for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. It is just one game ahead of the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics, which is particularly important because of the play-in tournament in place this season.
The Nos. 7-10 seeds in each conference will face in a play-in tournament to determine the final two seeds in the traditional playoff bracket.
While Butler may not be the MVP this season, he can still help the Heat avoid such a fate as they look to make a run to a second straight NBA Finals.