Jimmy Butler opens up on similarities between KZ Okpala and himself

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The Miami Heat have high hopes for youngster KZ Okpala.

On Monday, Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler compared Okpala to himself.

“He’s constantly learning, trying to get better on both ends of the floor,” Butler said. “That’s my favorite part about him. He cares probably more about getting the stop than he does about getting the bucket. For me, that’s how I started off in the league. So a lot of what I see in him is kind of like what I was whenever I was a young guy in the league.”

Okpala, 21, showed out in the 2020 preseason.

During the Heat’s preseason win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday, the forward collected 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. Most impressive, he knocked down six shots from downtown.

Some people within the Heat organization reportedly viewed Okpala as a better prospect than rising star Tyler Herro, who was the No. 13 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Okpala was the No. 32 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. As for Butler, he was selected with the No. 30 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Clearly, Butler knows what it’s like to rise to the top without having the hype or attention.

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Born and raised in South Florida, Justin has always been a passionate Miami Heat fan. An avid supporter from the time Miami got its first championship in 2006 to having a league-worst 15-67 record in 2008 to the whole LeBron James era until now, Justin has seen and stuck through it all. His all-around analysis and heart for the game has made him a premier NBA writer. He writes for a variety of sites but his commitment to the Heat is always top priority.