Friday, July 1, 2022

Heat Insider Hears Jimmy Butler Dynamic: ‘Be Afraid’

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During a March fight with the Warriors, the Miami Heat made headlines when Jimmy Butler mistook it for Erik Spoelstra and Udonis Haslem on the team’s bench. And while it was essentially a screaming match, that particular term doesn’t quite capture what happened.

Players and coaches who are proven to engage in real, physical mid-game combat are things of the next level.

However, as the incident gathered dust, everyone involved indicated it was no big deal. Spoelstra even went so far as to say it could unite the team. “You can use moments during a season to catapult yourself,” he said afterwards. “You can overcome frustration and disappointment together.”

Still, the brawl cast doubt on the team’s odd dynamics among fans and pundits alike, and Butler’s role in it as the snake’s head in particular.

For his part, Heat insider Ira Winderman isn’t ready to dismiss the idea that Butler could eventually become a problem for the club.

In his latest “Ask Ira” feature for the Sun-Sentinel, Winderman was examined for his thoughts on the Butler Effect and whether things could go wrong with Miami, as they did during the baller’s previous stints in Chicago, Minnesota and Philly .

From his point of view, there are definitely trade-offs when you’re rolling with the six-time All-Star.

“The Heat knew exactly what to get in Jimmy Butler and what to smack him in the head with. Is he irritable, narcissistic, distant? Damn, Jimmy would probably be the first to tell you. But is he driven to win? That’s undeniable now,” Winderman wrote.

“Stop for a moment and think about Jimmy’s game, how he’s a willing passer, often at the expense of his own scoring, and how his relentless defense efforts help make up for teammates’ shortcomings.”

However, Winderman clearly believes that winning cures all ills. And if the Heat are ever at a point where winning is hard to come by, things could get dicey.

“While it’s sometimes difficult to get an accurate read while a team is winning, Jimmy’s teammates swear by him. Should it now go south for a longer distance? Be afraid, very afraid,” he warned.

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Despite his warts — not to mention the ill-fated three-point attempt at the end of Game 7 against the Celtics — Butler cemented his star status with his incredible run in the playoffs. One could even argue that he was the postseason player.

In 17 appearances, Butler averaged 27.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and a league-best 2.1 steals per game. He also hit more than 50% of his field goal attempts and is behind only Jayson Tatum in total free throws (111) in Game 6 of the Finals.

Meanwhile, he’s still leading the playoffs in win percentages (3.8) and VORP (2.2), and the Heat outperformed his opponents with 95 total points while he was on the floor.


Meanwhile, he’s still leading the playoffs in win percentages (3.8) and VORP (2.2), and the Heat outperformed his opponents with 95 total points while he was on the floor.

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