The Miami Heat are about to embark on another hopeful postseason run like last season where they went to the NBA Finals, but they first have to start by getting out of the play-in tournament. For success, it all starts with Heat star Jimmy Butler who was the main reason of many that led them far into the playoffs from the eighth seed, though they fell to the Denver Nuggets in five games.

In an interview with SLAM magazine, Butler talked about a bevy of topics including the “three things” that are needed to win a championship in the NBA. He mentions the level of play, health, and ultimately being “lucky” as the main attributes needed to obtain the glory that the Miami franchised has not won since 2013.

“Nobody can tell you anything right now,” Butler says. “There are three things that you gotta have in order to win a championship: you’ve gotta be playing your best basketball at the right time, you gotta be healthy, and you gotta be lucky. That’s just the way that it is. So can’t nobody tell right now who’s going to have all three of those things.”

Butler is looking for the first championship in his career after making an NBA Finals appearance twice with the Heat in 2020 losing to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers where the other one was against the aforementioned Nuggets. In each postseason stint, the nickname “Playoff Jimmy” is attached as he is known for exploding during that time, but reassures that it is “not a thing.”

“That’s not a thing for the hundredth time,” Butler said to SLAM. “Playoff Jimmy is not a thing. Emo Jimmy, thing. Football Jimmy, thing. Tennis Jimmy, thing. Daddy Jimmy, thing. Zaddy Jimmy, thing. But Playoff Jimmy, not so much.”

Butler's teammates on Heat talk about his mentality heading into playoffs

 Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) brings the ball up the court against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Kaseya Center.
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

While Butler does not believe “Playoff Jimmy” is a thing, his teammate in Caleb Martin definitely notices a “mental shift” when the postseason is around. Martin uses the phrase of Butler being “very strategic” and knowing the “time to ramp up” to be his best self and play at a high level.

“I think him having the experience of going through this phase so many times, he knows how to time stuff up with his body, and then [there’s] the mental part of it, too, him just being so steady mentally,” Martin said. “He’s very strategic. He knows when it’s time to ramp up. He knows what games probably hurt more than others or whatever the case is. Everything he does, he thinks about.”

There is no doubt as well that Butler is seen as one of the two leaders alongside with Bam Adebayo who is the captain of the team after long-time Heat player Udonis Haslem retired. One of the younger players on Miami in Jamal Cain inspires him in a boatload of ways including how he is “very comfortable in his skin.”

“The first thing I noticed with Jimmy, he’s very comfortable being in his skin. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him,” Cain said. “Seeing how he carried himself and how confident and comfortable he was in his skin only made me more comfortable being who I am.”

Butler talks about how the Heat organization is run

He was incredible in the playoff series against the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks where he averaged 37.6 points per game, especially in the last two games to close out the series where he scored 56 and 42 respectively. However, he credits the team around him including the players and coaching staff in how the Heat organization is run.

“We just have a different way of going about things,” Butler said. “Our coaching staff cares and they’re constantly studying how we can make everybody on our roster stick to their strong suits and stay away from the weak points of their games. Ownership cares—they’re at every practice, they’re on the plane. We’re talking to one another. We really f*** with one another, which is a good thing. And, um…I’m on the team. So, I’m taking my chances every time.”

“It’s the time where people really gotta think about going up against the Miami Heat and myself,” Butler continued. “I know what I’m capable of; I know what my squad is capable of. Nobody wants to see us in a 7-game series, anyway; we know that.”

Butler feels good about Miami with play-in game near

Butler also touted this season's Heat team after the regular season finale against the Toronto Raptors where he said he feels “good about the group.” He senses that they are ready for the challenges ahead of them and that they can repeat the immense excitement and return to the NBA Finals.

“I feel good about the group. And that's all I wanted to see these last couple of games. I just wanted to feel it, I know my team, I know the locker room. I can sense this group is ready. That's all you can ask for,” Butler said. “We not the same group as last year, so we leave that where it's at and we're moving forward with the group that we do have. But we, I are very confident in the guys we do have and we know what we're capable of so we'll see what we got.”

Butler talks about how matchup against 76ers will be “very difficult”

Before the Heat can even think about the playoffs, they have to get out of the play-in tournament first, which was the same hurdle last season where they lost the first game to the Atlanta Hawks, but squeaked by the Chicago Bulls after. They finished at the eighth seed which means they now travel to face the Philadelphia 76ers where the winner faces the No. 2 seed New York Knicks.

“Just gotta go out there and compete, play basketball the right way and do something very difficult and it's to win on Philly's floor,” Butler said. “This is the time of the year where you're going to have to do that anyways if you want to win a championship. Obviously we have to do it if we want to get to 7.”

If they lose in Philadelphia, they would face the winner of the 9-10 seed matchup between the Bulls and Hawks as either would be a rematch from last season. As Heat fans always deal with, it should be another fun, but stressful postseason for Miami led by their star in Butler.