One of your best guys usually isn’t the enforcer. Teams have an Oakley or a Rodman to retaliate; that’s not the case in Miami. You mess with someone, Jimmy Butler will get you right back. Chris Paul learned that last night
Chris Paul may be the Point God but is also a bulldog. In addition to perfect passes and clutch scoring, Paul will go for your jugular mentally. Every second you are matched up with him, CP3 is trying to get under your skin, make you react and lose focus. Last night he had an episode with Duncan Robinson that didn’t sit well with Butler.
If you look at it from Paul’s perspective, his plan worked. Butler got a personal foul making a point. Purely pragmatically, the best response is not to respond. But Butler didn’t make a mistake. This wasn’t an important game, and that personal foul was well spent making a statement. That builds equity with his teammates and establishes a championship mindset.
As turbulent as his locker room presence was in Chicago and Minnesota, you can tell the 76ers miss Jimmy Butler. It’s this kind of attitude that Philly needs, primarily internally. Somone to start the awkward conversation, and face the music. Sometimes it turns out poorly (Minessota); other times, it’s a perfect fit (Miami).
That’s why Butler left Philly and why Miami is the perfect place for him. From Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra down, “the Heat way” fits perfectly with Butler’s mentality. Goes to show how important it is for players to land in the right environment – both in terms of a basketball fit, and a mindset fit.