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Jimmy Butler lauds Heat’s unsung heroes, says team shouldn’t be counted out in East

Heat, Jimmy Butler

The Miami Heat was one of the teams expected to fight for one of the last few playoff spots in the East. Yet they have impressed early, getting off to a 5-1 start and standing second in the conference after leading the league in point differential (plus-11.2 points per game).

New franchise star Jimmy Butler praised his new teammates, giving them most of the credit, as he missed three of the Heat’s six contests thus far due to the birth of his daughter. Former G Leaguer Kendrick Nunn was first on the list:

“Look at the mother***er K-Nunn. Look at him. He’s got so much of me in him that it’s scary because his confidence continues to grow,” Butler told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “The same thing with our rook Tyler Herro and [second-year player] Duncan. Come on, man. Just because you don’t know these guys like that, don’t make the mistake of looking past them. They’re going to make sure you do know them pretty, pretty soon.”

Nunn is the Heat’s leading scorer with 19.5 points per game, a role he’s taken gladly after winning the starting guard spot out of training camp. Herro is one of the dark horse candidates for Rookie of the Year, and he’s shown why this season with sizzling performances coming off the bench.

Duncan Robinson is coming off shooting the lights out in a blowout win over the Houston Rockets — one of eight Heat players averaging double-digit scoring this young season.

“Look, man, don’t count us out. Don’t count us out,” said Butler. “There are some really good teams in the East. I hear you. This league has players with way bigger names than myself and everybody else in this locker room. But don’t count us out, man, because it’s a team game and no one can do it by themselves. But we’ll show people throughout the year that we can compete with the best of them. We damn sure can compete with the best of them.”

Many aren’t expecting the Heat to keep this up, but they’re quickly putting quality wins under their belt, and showing that the coalition of above-average talent and a strong identity is panning out much better than teams that have stacked talent without means to make it work.