Jimmy Butler is the answer to ending the Miami Heat’s slump since the departure of LeBron James in 2014. He has led the team to the NBA Finals and now he will take on the man that last brought Miami a championship.
Coach Erik Spoelstra has been raving about Butler and how he fits in with the team. He spoke to the LA Times and had this to say:
“So much of this league is just about alignment. Who cares what you believe in? Who cares what your culture is? Can you acquire a group of people that are aligned in whatever that vision is? And you need your leaders to embody those qualities, whatever they may be. And Jimmy Butler embodies those qualities just like all the Heat players of our great past have done before: Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem. He just embodies these qualities of professionalism, of work, of accountability, of being reliable, and he leads.”
A curious omission by Coach Spo in his list of Heat legends is the man that won two Finals MVPs with them last decade. That man is LeBron James. However, since his split with Pat Riley and Spoelstra wasn’t the most pleasant, it isn’t surprising to see him not mention LeBron as a Heat legend.
Jimmy Butler chasing the success of his predecessors?
Though Spo didn’t mention him, LeBron is also a Heat legend. What Butler does in this Finals series will be compared to what LeBron did for Miami, which is inevitable. However, Butler has more favorable voices around him, as his Heat doesn’t have nearly the same expectation LeBron’s Heat had. They don’t even have the same expectations as LeBron’s Lakers right now.
Butler is built in that special Miami Heat cloth that makes this franchise a winning one. Obviously, hard workers like Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and Alonzo Mourning exemplify it. However, superstars with the drive to win can fit in perfectly, as we saw with LeBron and Shaquille O’Neal.
Butler may not have the same raw talent these men had, but he has the grit and resiliency to pull off major wins. That is just how he is built.