Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra believes Jimmy Butler is the right leader for his team going forward as he believes the five-time All Star forward is a "winner." Butler, who signed with the Heat in the summer of 2019, led the team to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2014.
In the NBA Finals, the Heat were beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers as the top-seeded team from the Western Conference claimed a 4-2 victory. "Jimmy has a superstar competitive spirit to him," Spoelstra said, per ESPN.
"If you try to evaluate him or put him in a conventional box of how you view a modern-day basketball player, you're totally missing the boat on JB. He is a winner, he is a leader, he is a motivator, a mentor and just a supreme competitor.
And when you get to this level, I think so many people forget about that, the competition and what you can bring out of an entire franchise when you're wired to that level of fierce competitiveness."
Spoelstra says Butler and the Heat a perfect fit
Before the season started, the Heat weren't considered as a contender for the NBA title but they proved the doubters wrong and had an outstanding season.
"This locker room, regardless of whatever happens in the future, we're going to remember this year, this season, this experience and that locker room brotherhood for the rest of our lives," Spoelstra said. "You're in this business to be able to be around people like this.
And I can go on and on. But the guys that competed and played in this series, we had several guys that were not even close to being 100 percent. Probably shouldn't have been playing, but that's how this group was. They wanted to do it for each other.
And I just, I'm really bummed that we couldn't find a way to get over the hump and finish the season with a win." Butler had stints with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers. Butler, who is known for his exceptional work ethic, thrives in the Heat system, which is known for demanding its players to be in premiere shape.
"I think that's what we're all looking for, right, is to be part of a family," Spoelstra said. "To be a part of something where you felt all along that you were searching for something. Where you can just be yourself, you don't have to make any apologies for who you are.
We have been searching for him for a long time, and I think he's been searching for something like us for a while ..."