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Heat star Jimmy Butler knew he could play in the NBA after seeing Lance Stephenson play

Jimmy Butler, Lance Stephenson, Heat

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler knew he could play in the NBA after seeing Lance Stephenson play.

Butler, who has turned himself into one of the best two-way players in the game, was on Vince Carter’s podcast and told the Atlanta Hawks veteran that seeing Stephenson play in the NBA was a sign that he was good enough to be in the league as well.

Stephenson is in China now after playing with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Butler, meanwhile, is the new leader of the Heat in the post-Dwyane Wade era.

The Chicago Bulls took a chance on Butler in the 2011 draft with the 30th pick and watched the Texas native grow from a defensive specialist into one of the best players in the league in a short amount of time.

The 2014-15 season was Butler’s breakout year. The 6-foot-7 swingman averaged 20.0 points per game and won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.

Fast forward to today and Butler is a four-time All-Star. His Heat are 5-1 on the season and look like a contender.

Butler, after missing the first three games of the season due to the birth of his daughter, is averaging 14.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists on the season while shooting 38.9 percent from the field, 30.0 percent from beyond the arc and 65.0 percent from the free-throw line.