Butler had a 56 point game this playoffs (Kobe’s playoff high is 50, Jordan’s is 63 but also had a 56 pt game too).
Butler also averages a Jordan like efficiency of 48% FG% – Kobe has never averaged above 47% in any playoff run.
Butler is also carrying a team with minimal all-star help, which we’ve seen Jordan do in the late 80s. Kobe (despite what his fans say) didn’t carry his team in the late 2000s, he had a Hall of Famer in Gasol and a very solid supporting cast with Odom, Fisher, Ariza/MWP, Bynum etc he had a better team than Butler has.
Butler has also now gone to the Finals as an 8th seed and as massive underdogs (they were only given a 3% chance to make the Finals). Neither Jordan or Kobe has gone to the Finals with such odds stacked against them. Jordan’s most impressive Finals run was in 1998 when Pippen was injured and Rodman was a shell of himself, but even then that team was good enough to win 62 games in the regular season so I wouldn’t call that an underdog team either. Butler’s Heat is legit by any definition an underdog team, a Cinderella run like the 1999 Knicks basically.
Butler, regardless of whether he wins or loses this Finals, will be in the Hall of Fame. Being the best player on a Finalist, let alone two underdog finalists (2020 and 2023 Heat) basically guarantees that.
A first ballot Hall of Famer? I’m not sure. But definitely he will be in.
Let me point skeptics to Paul Westphal – the best player on the 1976 Suns who made it to the Finals as an underdog. Took a while for him to get in, but he did get in before he passed away (RIP Westphal).
(With due respect to Westphal) Butler is a better player and he dragged two teams to the Finals. He’s going in.