Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat seemingly surpassed the expectations from them in the 2019-20 NBA season. Before the league went on a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Heat was sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 41-24 record. Though they are currently not viewed on the same level as other powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Los Angeles Lakers, Butler is very confident about the Heat’s chances when the season resumes in Orlando on July 30.
According to Shandel Richardson of Sports Illustrated, Butler is aware that most people see the Heat as “underdogs” in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. However, though he admitted that their road to title contention will be difficult, Butler said that fans “can count” on the Heat to fully dominate the Eastern Conference and bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy to South Beach this season.
“It’s going to be tough,” Butler said. “I’m not going to lie to you. I think the best thing about it is everybody has to have that same mental edge. Everybody has the same mental disadvantage. I think we handle this well. People like to say we have a group of underdogs. Say what you will but we have a group of really good pros that love to hoop, love to compete. We’re going to go out there and give it our all. Home, away, or neutral here at Disney, I think you can count on the Miami Heat bringing it.”
It’s easy to understand why Butler is very optimistic that the Heat can win it all in the 2019-20 season. Though he doesn’t have teammates like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Miami, Butler is currently surrounded by players hungry to win a championship title as much as he is. Individually, Butler is currently doing very well in his first season with the Heat.
In 54 games he played, the 30-year-old small forward is averaging 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.7 steals while shooting 45.4 percent from the field. With the league on a hiatus for more than four months, it gave Butler the opportunity to make sure that his body is 100 percent when the real battle begins in the playoffs.
In a short span of time with the Heat, Butler has already earned the respect, not only of his teammates but also their coaches. Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra said that Butler is the type of player willing to do anything to help his team win an NBA championship title. In a playoff scenario where there are some uncertainties, Spoelstra said that many teams would want to have a superstar like Butler leading their organization.