Pelicans’ Trey Murphy III breaks down how he tries to guard Jimmy Butler

Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The runner-up to the 2023 Slam Dunk Contest and one of the brightest cornerstones on the New Orleans Pelicans’ Trey Murphy III went on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast this week and had a chat with another former Pelican, JJ Redick.

On his podcast, Redick does like to focus a good chunk of the episode on the person he’s interviewing. In the case of Murphy, they spent a some time talking about the intricacies of the soon-to-be third-year forward’s shooting mechanics.

But Redick also likes to get his guest’s take on what’s going on in the league at the time of their conversation. So naturally, being that we are in the playoffs, the topical portion of the podcast pivoted to a discussion regarding the recent brilliance of one Jimmy Butler.

Butler, known by many during this time of the year as “Playoff Jimmy,” just finished adding another platinum record to his album of greatest playoff hits, as he helped propel the Miami Heat to a five-game gentleman’s sweep over the Milwaukee Bucks.

During that series, Butler averaged 37.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.8 APG, and 1.8 SPG on 67.1% True Shooting. He also authored one of the greatest single game postseason scoring performances in NBA history during that timespan.

Murphy, despite never facing him in a playoff series before, does have some experience guarding him in the regular season. So, he was able to offer some insight into what it is like guarding Butler. Here is what he said:

"“Guarding [Butler], a lot of it is you just can’t put your hands on him, especially in the regular season because he’s gonna draw fouls. Right now, I feel like he’s really just scoring at will, where it’s just like he doesn’t care if he’s getting fouled or not. But in the regular season, I feel like he’s somewhat coasting, and he’s like, ‘I’m going to get to the free throw line. I’m going to get to my spots. And if you jump on this pump fake, I’m gonna hit you in your rib, and I’m going to go to the foul line while you’re holding your rib.”"

Unfortunately, based on NBA Matchup Data (which admittedly can be a bit finicky at times), Murphy’s struggled to guard Butler (as most of the league has) in his limited chances against him.

In 2 minutes and 56 seconds of being matched up on him, Murphy has committed two shooting fouls on Butler and allowed him to go a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor (per

10 Players the Pelicans gave up on way too soon. dark. Next