Heat Insider Sounds Off on Jimmy Butler Dynamic: ‘Be Afraid’

Jimmy Butler Heat-Cs

Getty Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler looks on prior to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

During a March bout with the Warriors, the Miami Heat made headlines when Jimmy Butler mixed it up with Erik Spoelstra and Udonis Haslem on the team’s bench. And while it was essentially a shouting match that occurred, that particular term doesn’t quite capture what transpired.

Players and coaches demonstrably challenging each other to actual, physical fights in the middle of a game is some next-level stuff.

Nevertheless, when the dust had settled on the incident, all parties involved suggested that it was no big deal. Spoelstra even went so far as to say that it could unify the team. “You can use moments during a season to catapult you,” he said afterward. “You can galvanize together over frustration and disappointment.”

Still, the scuffle sowed seeds of doubt among fans and pundits alike about the team’s strange dynamic and, more specifically, Butler’s role in it as the head of the snake.

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

Winderman on Potential Issues

Jimmy Butler’s ECF performance was perplexing, says Skip Bayless | The Skip Bayless ShowSkip Bayless recaps Jimmy Butler's confounding playoff performance for the Miami Heat. #SkipBaylessShow​ #NBA #JimmyButler SUBSCRIBE to get the latest Skip Bayless Show content: sprtspod.fox/SUBSCRIBESkipShow Listen to The Skip Bayless Show podcast on Apple Podcasts: sprtspod.fox/SkipBaylessShowPodcast Listen to The Skip Bayless Show podcast on on Spotify: sprtspod.fox/PodcastSkipBaylessShow The all-new FOX Sports App, built for the…2022-06-03T02:00:01Z

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

As he sees it, there are definitely trade-offs that occur when you’re rolling with the six-time All-Star.

“The Heat knew exactly what they were getting in Jimmy Butler, as well as what they needed to put around him. Is he prickly, narcissistic, aloof? Heck, Jimmy probably would be the first to tell you. But is he driven to win? That, by now, is undeniable,” Winderman wrote.

“Pause for a moment and consider Jimmy’s game, how he is a willing passer, often at the cost of his own scoring, and how his relentless defensive efforts help compensate for the shortcomings of teammates.”

However, Winderman is clearly of the belief that winning cures all ills. And if the Heat ever find themselves in a spot where wins are hard to come by, things could get dicey.

“While it is sometimes difficult to get the truest read while a team is winning, Jimmy’s teammates swear by him. Now should things turn south for an extended stretch? Be afraid, very afraid,” he warned.

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Butler Was Arguably the Best Player of the Postseason

Despite his warts — not to mention that ill-fated three-point attempt at the end of Game 7 against the Celtics — Butler reinforced his status as a go-to star with his incredible playoff run. One could even make the argument that he was the player of the postseason.

Over 17 appearances, Butler averaged 27.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and a league-best 2.1 steals per outing. He also connected on better than 50% of his field-goal attempts and, entering Game 6 of the Finals, trails only Jayson Tatum in total free throws made (111).

Meanwhile, he still leads the playoffs in win shares (3.8) and VORP (2.2) and the Heat outscored opponents by 95 total points when he was on the floor.


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