Jimmy Butler’s move to the Miami Heat this past offseason seemed like a risk at the time, but that isn’t the case anymore.
At 20-8, the Heat currently sit at the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, and Butler is a major reason why.
The four-time All-Star has not only served as the team’s closer throughout the season, he has helped lift up many of the team’s youngsters up to new heights.
As a result, players such as Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro are all having breakout years.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith recently said that Butler has never seemed happier in his entire NBA career.
Stephen A on Jimmy, what they got, what they’re missing 💯 💯 pic.twitter.com/mb9tKa2KvP
— 𝙈𝙚𝙡𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘼𝙇𝙙𝙤𝙣𝙞𝙨 ™ (@AIR305) December 19, 2019
“I’m looking at Miami, and you know I’ve known Jimmy Butler for years,” he said to “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman. “Max, I’ve never seen him happier.”
Smith then broke down a couple reasons why.
“These guys are young,” he said. “They’re athletic. They’re feisty. They defend. They can finish at the basket. They’ve got heart. They’ve got skill. Miami is a team to watch.”
So far this season, Butler is averaging 20.9 points, 6.8 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. He has flourished in Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s system and has created strong bonds with players throughout the team’s roster.
In Wednesday night’s victory of the Philadelphia 76ers, that team unity was evident. Though Butler scored just 14 points in the game, he watched joyfully as youngsters Adebayo and Nunn put on a clinic.
Adebayo recorded 23 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks in the game. Nunn added a game-high 26 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds.
Things are most definitely clicking right now in Miami.
While some questioned Butler’s dedication to winning when he expressed his desire to join the Heat over the summer, it’s now looking quite clear that he simply knew something about the Heat culture that many of the organization’s critics did not.