Erik Spoelstra Effuses Praise While Discussing Jimmy Butler’s Leadership

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Handling a leadership role on the Miami Heat is something that Jimmy Butler doesn’t shy away from, with Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledging that Butler’s past experiences have prepared him for such challenges.

Butler was acquired by the Heat during the offseason and has been a key reason why the Heat have joined the group of serious contenders for an NBA title.

The 30-year-old Butler is averaging 20.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game this season, with the rebounding and assist averages serving as career-highs.

Yet, Butler’s fiery leadership style is also something that’s allowed the Heat to improve their record by 11 games from the same point last season.

Instead of the 26-33 mark for a team that ultimately failed to make the playoffs, Butler is leading a 37-22 squad that currently has the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

That leadership style of Butler is something that’s currently needed and will be of high value in the months ahead. Before last night’s win over Dallas, the Heat had lost seven of their previous nine games.

The hope is that Butler and his teammates can use the Dallas victory as a springboard into the postseason in an effort to make a deep run.

Butler and the Heat will be right back at it on Saturday, when they host the Brooklyn Nets.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.