The Miami Heat have always been known as an organization that values strong defense. With the acquisition of two-way star Jimmy Butler, that defensive mentality will certainly play a role in any success Miami enjoys in the 2019-20 regular season.
As it turns out, Butler isn’t the only Heat player chomping at the bit to defend the NBA’s biggest stars. Per a recent report, Justise Winslow and Butler are currently competing for who gets to defend the best offensive opposing players.
“They both will want to cover the big threats on the other side,” Spoelstra said, with the Heat in a two-day break before concluding their five-game preseason Thursday on the road against the Orlando Magic and then Friday at AmericanAirlines Arena against the Houston Rockets. “And that’s what you want. Sometimes I like leaving it up to the guys, to see what they decide.
“And then, when they argue about it, in a good way, that’s when I’ll step in.”
Winslow spoke about the desire to display his defensive acumen.
“But it’s not me stepping over Coach,” he said. “It’s just me wanting to take that challenge.”
As for Butler, he knows that ultimately, defense is a team game. It’s that exact approach that makes him such a perfect fit in South Florida.
“I’ve got faith in my teammates,” he said. “So whoever wants to take that challenge, I’m with ’em on it.
“But it’s never just going to be one guy. You’re going to have somebody in the gaps, for him not to see a straight line. We’re going to have to play the passing lane. But it’s great that Justise wants that role, and he can thrive in it. He’s going to have night in and night out, tough guys to guard. But I like that he wants to be that.”
In the end, who gets to guard the opposing teams’ best players will likely depend on the game plan and matchup. Whoever it is, it’s good to know that there are multiple Heat players that are up to the challenge.