Role Of Jimmy Butler In Bringing Miami Heat Close To The Finals



Although considered relative outsiders for most of the season according to NBA odds, the Miami Heat are on the cusp of reaching the NBA Finals in 2023. They finished as 8th seeds in the Eastern Conference and earned themselves a place in the play-in tournament, but lost the first round to the Atlanta Hawks. They went on to face the Chicago Bulls and won at the second time of trying to earn themselves a place in the playoffs. Throughout both games, and the rest of the season for that matter, it was Jimmy Butler who starred for the Heat. The Small Forward joined Miami back in 2019 in a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers and has dazzled fans at the Kaseya Center ever since. The Marquette alumni is now a six-time All-Star since being drafted 30th overall in 2011 and has remained one of the most popular players in the league ever since.

His efforts for Miami this season have been integral to their playoff run and fans could not be happier. Butler’s skills are clear for all to see but what really asserts him as an elite talent is his competitiveness and leadership. He is often one of the most vocal players on the court no matter what the game and the effect he has on his teammates is essential to their success. He is never one to shy away from he and his teammates shortcomings either, often taking ownership for performances that simply were not up to par. 

The Heat were not among the top favorites to reach the finals before the season started and even after they reached the playoffs the odds seemed stacked against them. In the first round they would have to fell top seeds the Milwaukee Bucks. Enter Jimmy Butler. He had a monster scoring performance in this series. They opened with a road win in which butler put up 35 points along with a double-double making 11 assists. There were some worries among Heat fans however when he bruised his glute and looked to be in for limited minutes. He played 28 in game 2 and 3 but still managed to put up 25 and 30 points respectively. With Butler’s help, Miami went 2-1 in the series after losing their second game on the road and winning their first at home. Game 4 however was truly something special. He netted a monumental 56 points in this game, his 22 inside the first quarter setting a new franchise record. The Heat were on the brink of dumping the top seed out of the playoffs and they did just that in game 5 with Jimmy netting 42. He finished the series averaging 37.6ppg showing himself to be almost unguardable against the Bucks and establishing himself as a superstar.

Up next was the New York Knicks who were coming off of an impressive 4-1 series win over the Cavaliers. Jalen Brunson was on fire and although they had already knocked out the Bucks, there were still those doubting the Heat. Butler saw his shooting effectivity take a dip in this series. The Knicks did a much better job of guarding Butler than the Bucks had and he finished with a 43.2 FG% compared to 59.7% against the Bucks. However, one of Butler’s best assets is his ability to evolve his game according to the opponent. He upped his playmaking and defensive role in the series, averaging 7.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.6 steals. They finished the series 4-1 to progress to the conference finals.

Here, they would face the second seeded Boston Celtics. The Celtics have been favorites for much of the season to win the NBA Championship and were even stronger favorites by the start of this series. However, for some reason, people had still forgotten not to doubt Butler and the Heat. At the time of writing, they are 3-0 in the series with Butler shooting for an average of 26.0 along with 7.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He opened with 35 points and an incredible 6 steals in Game 1, further proving just how effective he can be at both ends of the court. They are now on the brink of sweeping the favorites and with no team ever returning from a 3-0 deficit in NBA History, it seems the Heat have a place in the finals against the Denver Nuggets.

Fans and pundits are running out of superlatives for Jimmy Butler and if there was an award for a posteason MVP, there is no doubting he would be at the top of the ballot. He’s an incredible leader and while he certainly has a great supporting cast, make no mistake that he is the star of this Miami Heat team. Whether they can go on and win it all remains to be seen, but if you have not learned by now then let me remind you; never doubt Jimmy Butler.

You may also like...