The Minnesota Timberwolves have been living up to early season expectations as they've started the year impressively.
The T-Wolves currently have the third-best record in the Western Conference at 7-3, behind only the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.
After making a number of good acquisitions in the offseason, it was anticipated that this would finally be the season in which they'd end their long playoff drought.
The capture of All-Star guard Jimmy Butler was certainly their biggest and the addition of one of the league's best two-way players was seen as the major turning point for them.
But surprisingly, Butler's numbers have dropped since taking his talents to Minneapolis. His scoring average has fallen from a career-high 23.9 points in the last campaign to 15.1 this year.
There are caveats that need to be taken into account, however. The 28-year-old was the number one scoring option for the Bulls and was tasked with getting buckets as the team wasn't blessed with many other players who could contribute hugely offensively.
The Timberwolves don't have this problem as young duo Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins showed last season that they are more than capable of putting up numbers and have done so again in their opening 10 games.
This may be a problem for many players but that certainly isn't the case for Butler who is only focused on one thing.
"Like I said my whole career, as long as we’re winning I don’t give a damn what my stats are," Butler told Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. "I think winning makes everybody happy."
Minnesota's early success has been a team effort as they have five players, including Butler, averaging double figures in scoring - Towns (21.8 ppg), Wiggins (19.9), Jeff Teague (13.4) and Jamal Crawford (10.8).
Despite being a three-time All-Star, the former Bulls star has had no problems making a transition and taking on a supporting role with his new team.
As one of the best defensive players in the league, the All-NBA man is doing most of his work on that end of the floor as he's willing to help the team in any way he can and it is what head coach Tom Thibodeau has appreciated the most about Butler.
"That’s who Jimmy is. Jimmy has always been that way," Thibodeau said. "If we need him to score, he’ll score. If we need him to be a playmaker, he’ll do that.
"What he’s showing people is you put the team first. That’s the most important thing. You never hear Jimmy talk about, 'I didn’t get my shots' or 'I need more minutes.'
"He wants to win. That’s what Jimmy wants, and if we’re going to win, you put the team first."
Winning is exactly what the franchise is currently doing and they can make a huge statement in their biggest test of the campaign when they face the Golden State Warriors on the road in their next outing.