Despite being down, the Heat’s journey as a fifth seed is about as David & Goliath as it comes.
It all began last offseason when Heat star, Jimmy Butler found his way to the Miami Heat in a sign-trade-deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Butler, 31, who averaged 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, six assists and 1.8 steals in the regular season became a vocal leader and an instant impact for a team with rising stars in Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo and Kendrick NUnn on their roster.
Guided by head coach, Erik Spoelstra, the Heat ended their regular season with a 44-29 record and a fifth place finish in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings with a supporting cast that includes veterans in Goran Dragic, Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk, Udonis Haslem and Jae Crowder.
At the beginning of last season Jimmy Butler, exited playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and with their star Karl Anthony Towns and was shipped to a Sixers team guided by head coach, Brett Brown and housed with a roster that included Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The team was eliminated in the NBA Playoffs by eventual NBA Champion, Toronto Raptors and their star Kawhi Leonard.
Fast forward to a season later: Miami’s got all of the confidence in the world after eliminating the Indiana Pacers and a more favorable Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics in the Playoffs.
Butler’s swagger is up there too.
Million Dollar Question: Who plays like Jimmy?
Retired NBA big man, Etan Thomas appeared on this week’s episode of the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show and weighed in. “Well, Richard Hamilton was the mid-range king in my era,” Thomas told me.
“You know, he would move and he would be…and you, he patterned his game after Reggie Miller and he would just be in constant movement going across screens and he was just…hitting midranges. That’s what he did. That’s how I can compare it as far as midranges. It’s interesting because Rip studied Reggie Miller so like, with my team now, I have everybody study someone. And I tell them, “Who’s your draft comparison?” and I have them study tapes of people, you know? And that’s the way I do it – our point guard Rick, he studies Chris Paul. And I wanted him to play like Chris Paul; and with my son, he loves Giannis. Everybody loves Giannis because he’s tall and thin and wants to euro-step all over the place like, that’s great but I want him to study Anthony Davis to go on that inside-outside. I can’t give up with big men just all the way being outside. I can’t do it! He loves KD; everybody around here loves KD. They LOVE KD; but I’m like, “Bruh. I want you to block shots, get rebounds, back to the basket a little bit too AND go outside. I want you to do everything!” So that’s why I wanted him to study Anthony Davis. That’s the dude right there.”