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Jimmy Butler ruthlessly roasts Derrick Jones Jr.

Heat, Jimmy Butler, Derrick Jones Jr.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler has never been shy about taking playful shots at current or former teammates. He had some words for former Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. on Monday.

Butler was asked why the Heat have been able to rise to the occasion on the defensive end of the floor this season. He mused Miami finally “started guarding somebody” after Jones signed with the Portland Trail Blazers last fall.

In truth, Jones was one of the more productive defensive playmakers for the Heat last season. He averaged 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks in just over 23 minutes per contest, using his length and athleticism to disrupt things in the half court.

However, the Heat were unable to give Jones the contract he so desired in free agency. He signed with Portland, where he has been an effective wing presence for a playoff contender in the Western Conference.

Miami, meanwhile, has taken things up a notch. The Heat rank third in defensive scoring and sixth in defensive rating. Butler has been just as good as ever on that end, notching 2.1 steals per game in his first 38 appearances. Victor Oladipo has also been a very capable defender in his four games with the team, racking up 1.8 steals per contest.

The Heat’s defensive prowess has been absolutely vital in their recovery from an 11-17 start to the season. Whether Miami’s defensive success will translate to playoff wins remains to be seen, but Butler will assuredly maintain his high level of defensive energy (and endless chiding) through the remainder of the season.