It was, no doubt, an emotional year for the Miami Heat. There was the near-miss on making the playoffs, and the comeback win that earned them a playoff spot. There was the injury to guard Tyler Herro in the playoff opener and, from there, the improbable run through the playoffs to the NBA Finals—where there was the disappointment of the loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Oh, and there was the summer spent in a fruitless search for another star player, specifically Damian Lillard. But Lillard was sent to Milwaukee, and the guy he is replacing, Jrue Holiday, was sent to Boston, bolstering the two teams who stand most firmly in the path of the Heat for a return trip to the Finals.
So Jimmy Butler, the Heat star, was feeling a bit emotional. And to show it, he arrived on Media Day in Miami on Monday with his hair cut into a bob and delicately coiffed. “I’m emo,” he explained.
When pressed for further details about the ‘do, Butler said, “What’s this? This is my emotional state. I’m one with my emotions. So this is what you get.”
Have no fear, though: You also got the Butler you know and love, one who guaranteed a return trip to the Finals for Miami this year.
Jimmy Butler: ‘We’re Gonna Win’
Butler, as always, was not afraid to set high expectations for his team, no matter what the outside view may be. Butler, no doubt, wanted the Heat to bring in another star player. After all, he just turned 34 last month and is in the final stages of his career as a star player. The Heat really must take advantage of his ability (he averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists last year) while they can.
A but the fact that Miami did not do so this summer was of no bother to him. In fact, Butler said the Heat would be going back to the NBA Finals next spring. And they’d be winning them.
“Yeah, we straight,” Butler said. “Like I always say, I know what I’m capable of. I know what my guys are capable of. So we’ll continue to play basketball as a unit, as a team. Somehow, some way, we’ll end up in the Finals, and this time we’re gonna win. And then y’all gonna say y’all got lucky, so I am prepared for it.”
Celtics, Bucks Acquired Stars in Offseason
Another trip to the NBA Finals would count as an upset, even though the Heat have been there twice in the past four seasons. The Celtics and Bucks will come into the season as the favorites in the East, and challenges will come from the Knicks and Cavaliers, among others.
But the addition of veterans Josh Richardson and Thomas Bryant should give the Heat some depth, and there is hope that there will be contributions made by some number of the team’s young guys—rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr., World Cup star Nikola Jovic, and/or developmental projects Orlando Robinson and Haywood Highsmith.
“We got a couple of new guys, faces that everybody’s seen around the league, guys who work incredibly hard and they’re gonna do what it takes for the unit, for the team to win,” Butler said. “Odd enough, we got a bunch of players that think or maybe even know that they’re the best player in the league, and I think you need that, you need that confidence night in and night out. When you have multiple guys that think that that believe that, you just end up winning games.
“The togetherness is there, everybody knows where they stand. That’s what we take into this year.”