Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

If Jimmy Butler keeps hooping like this, he could get another conference title

Jimmy Butler!
Jimmy Butler!
Photo: AP

Jimmy Butler is putting the Miami Heat on his back once again.

If you watched the 2020 NBA Finals, you know just how impactful Butler can be for this Heat team when he is healthy and on his game. Butler led a team that had no business competing with Anthony Davis and LeBron James to two wins in the Finals and gave the world hope that maybe a miracle would happen.

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It’s one of the best performances in a loss that we’ve ever seen in the Finals.

Butler is diving back into his bag again this season to get the Heat back amongst the top teams in the East. Jimmy Buckets missed 10 games this season due to COVID and the Heat were pretty terrible during that stretch (it resulted in a 6-12 record that had them drastically out of the playoff picture).

Yet since Butler‘s return, a switch has turned on for the Heat and that’s no coincidence. The Heat are 15-6 now that Butler is back and have won 10 of their last 11 games. Butler has averaged 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals per game during this streak. Miami has clawed its way back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture and is sitting at the four spots. The Heat were a five seed when they made their run to the NBA Finals last year.

Not only have the wins been piling up for Miami, but it seems like the Heat finally have their identity back. With Butler back in the lineup, they leaped from 22nd in the league in defensive rating to having the 2nd best defense league during that span.

We already knew what Butlers’ ceiling was, he showed us that last June. He’s playing at that level once again at a time where his team needed it to have a chance to repeat as conference champions.

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Many people will still doubt this team’s chances to make noise in the East especially with a new-look Brooklyn squad that added Blake Griffin to three future first-ballot Hall of Famers. Yet, if Butler plays like this, and they get consistent production from Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo, the Heat could certainly be a scary team. Let’s see if Butler can lead Miami back to the top of the Eastern Conference once again.