NBA 2017-18: 5 Players with the highest on/off-court differentials
The NBA is a superstar-driven league. This is something that most fans will have observed to hold true since the first time they sat in front of the idiot box or made their way to an NBA arena. The best players in the game are the ones who can consistently affect their team's play on both sides of the court.
But sometimes, certain rosters are set up in such a way that a less important player might become more irreplaceable than a franchise player - purely because he provides something to the team that cannot be replicated by anyone else on the squad.
That's the reason why the top player on this list is an unexpected one, although the other four are legitimate superstars in their own right. This is a list of the players who are essentially the most irreplaceable players on their rosters - the ones whose presence on the floor causes the biggest boost to the overall performance of the team.
We tried to measure this using nba.com's on/off court splits for net rating. None of the figures used here are pace-adjusted. Our countdown begins with:
#5 Jimmy Butler - 12.8
Jimmy Butler made the switch from the Bulls to the Wolves last summer as Chicago entered a rebuilding phase. While Minnesota were bundled out of the playoffs in the first round itself by Houston Rockets, the fact that they made their first postseason in 14 years will allow people to view their season as a success.
This turnaround in their fortunes could not have been possible without the influence of Jimmy Butler. On his arrival, he became the team's focal point on offense while setting their defensive tone. Indeed, Butler has been one of the best 2-way players in the league for a while now, and in my opinion is the best at his usual position of shooting guard.
The Timberwolves had a net rating of 8.3 points per 100 possessions with Jimmy G Buckets on the court, but this dropped to -4.5 when he moved off it.