It didn’t end like the Miami Heat had hoped, but the season wasn’t a total loss for Jimmy Butler. Far from it.
“This is where I belong. This is what makes me smile. This is what makes me happy,” Butler said. “I wouldn’t give that back for the world.”
The Heat lost to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the Finals. A lot of people never suspected they would get there in Butler’s first season. But there is no arguing it was an inspirational run in the Disney bubble.
The Heat are full of great stories, with likes of small forward Duncan Robinson and guard Kendrick Nunn playing key roles despite not being drafted. They also had to face the Lakers without Goran Dragic, at least for the most part. Dragic was their leading scorer in the playoffs but missed the majority of time with a torn left plantar fascia.
You could say the Heat didn’t have a super-duper star. But they played super-duper competitive basketball under coach Erik Spoelstra anyway.
“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 echoed Spoelstra’s sentiments about the Heat’s unity and determination.
“We’re going to learn from this. We’re going to get better,” Butler said. “We’re going to come back. We’re going to come back. We’ll be back. That’s what we’re all saying in that locker room. We got guys that want to do it. We got guys that already want to get back in the gym and get to working at this thing. That’s what we do here.”