Kim Klement/Associated Press
The Miami Heat are finishing off their best regular season since LeBron James’ final year with the team in 2013-14, and offseason acquisition Jimmy Butler has played a key role in that effort.
Veteran Heat point guard Goran Dragic praised Butler’s leadership in comments to reporters Friday, calling him one of his “favorite teammates” and adding more information for ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on the reporter’s podcast (h/t Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald).
“For me, I even talked to some guys. I said, ‘How did that even come out with the media or players that Jimmy is a bad guy?’ I don’t know. If I’m honest, I really don’t know. He wants to win.
“Jimmy is one of those players that he’s going to call you out. If you’re not doing your job, he’s going to call you out. As professional players, we need that. He’s our leader. Everybody knows that. It’s nothing personal. He’s here to win and we’re here to win. Maybe other organizations with those young fellas, they couldn’t handle that. I think they’e wrong. Everybody needs to be vulnerable and everybody needs to accept criticism, too. … That’s how Jimmy operates and I love him for that.”
The Heat entered Friday with a 44-28 record after going 39-43 the year before. Butler has averaged team highs with 19.9 points,