Butler is averaging 14.8 points on .433 shooting in 22 games with the Mavs, stats only slightly better that Howard's in Dallas this season (12.5 ppg, .401 FG).
The recent trend for Butler is especially troubling. After getting in a groove during the latter half of the 13-game win streak, he's struggled.
Butler has failed to hit double figures in five of the last 11 games. He's gotten off to an awful start in April, scoring a total of 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting in two losses.
"I’m going to keep clawing," Butler said. "I’m a fighter. Ain’t no quit in me."
Butler acknowledges that he's having trouble picking his spots to be aggressive within the Mavs' offensive system. Since the day Butler arrived in Dallas, coach Rick Carlisle stressed to him that he needs to attack first and ask questions later.
Opponents have adjusted the way they play Butler in situations such as pick-and-rolls with Dirk Nowitzki. Now it's time for Butler to adjust to that.
And it's simply a matter of knocking down the good looks that he gets.
"I’m not out of my comfort zone," Butler said, "because I’m still getting shots where I’m very comfortable."
If you want to look at the bright side, the Mavs could be an offensive juggernaut if Butler lives up to his potential. On the other hand, it'll be hard for Dallas to do any playoff damage if Butler can't find a way to fix his shooting woes.
"He just has to be patient," Jason Kidd said. "He can’t get frustrated. We all want to get him going. It happens in our season when a guy might not make shots, but we believe that we can get him going and he’ll start making shots."
It better be soon for Butler.