Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler rarely needs any extra motivation. It turns out he may have found some, anyway.
While talking with ESPN's Rachel Nichols on The Jump Friday, Butler addressed Miami's chances at returning to The Finals and noted a number of players who missed significant time last season likely stand in the way.
"I don't have to look at any media outlet to know that we got some really good players that are much better than I am coming back," Butler said. "[Kevin Durant], Kyrie [Irving], Steph [Curry], [Karl-Anthony Towns], a lot of guys that was out are coming back so I'd pick those guys over me, too."
Butler isn't exactly wrong in his thinking—at least not according to oddsmakers.
FanDuel Sportsbook has Miami at +2000 to win an NBA title this year (bet $100 to win $2000), good for the seventh-best odds posted. As far as winning the Eastern Conference, the Heat have the fourth-best odds (+700) at repeating behind only the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics.
It's the Nets, in particular, who may be Miami's biggest roadblock.
With Irving and Durant fully healthy, Brooklyn should be one of the strongest challengers in the league, let alone the Eastern Conference.
Yet it's impossible to count out a Miami team that only seems to be improving. Big man Bam Adebayo made the leap to league stardom last year and the emergence of Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro as secondary scoring options helped balance out the lineup.
Butler may believe there are better teams in the league, but he has no problem heading into the season with the team he's on—even after a drastically short offseason.
"Tired or not tired, we've still got a job to do," Butler said.
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