Jimmy Butler’s trade to the Miami Heat had the team’s front office, players, and fan base raving about the wide array of skills that he brings to the team.
However, Heat veteran forward Udonis Haslem feels that Butler’s leadership skills will also be a huge asset.
When he re-signed for the his 17th season with the Heat, Haslem explained what’s needed when it comes to leadership and how Butler’s leadership can help fill the gaping void left by the retirement of Dwyane Wade:
“Another guy who can drive these guys, but not just off the court or in practice like I do. Somebody that actually drives these guys in the game, push these guys, play at an intense level in the game and do some of the things I try to do from the bench. But it’s always different when you have a guy in the game that’s driving guys like that.”
Haslem has largely been limited to providing leadership from the bench in recent years, seeing little action on the court. However, it’s that knack for connecting with teammates and his willingness to call them out when necessary that compelled the team to welcome him back for another year.
Still, the window for Haslem to continue in that role seems to be on the verge of closing. That means that the Heat needs for Butler to stand up and work in concert with Haslem to lead the team back to the playoffs.
That should smooth the transition for when Haslem finally does ultimately retire.
In the latter case, that intensity can turn some teammates away, but the Heat are hoping that his fiery spirit will mesh perfectly with the highly competitive Heat culture.