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Jimmy Butler and the Heat are ready to change the Finals conversation

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The young team is looking to shake up the Finals.

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers, the players, and the NBA would all have you believe that the conversation headed into the NBA Finals is that the team donning purple and gold is the team of destiny. That enough expectations equal reality that the fairy tale of winning this chip for Kobe Bryant will end like a Disney movie, with L.A. hoisting the trophy in Orlando to finish the season. That the spirit of Kobe, the legend of LeBron James, will push the Lakers over the top, to win title number 17 (although it would really be number 12 {five of those belong to Minnesota, so calm down LA}).

But Jimmy Butler (aka Jimmy Buckets) and this underrated Miami Heat team will change the narrative, just like so many of them have their entire careers.

Butler did it as the scrappy shooting guard on the Chicago Bulls, going from a tenacious defender at the end of the bench the team picked up at the back half of the 2011 draft to the two-way threat and leader of a playoff team. He changed the narrative again, when the national media labeled Butler as a locker room problem, bouncing from the Bulls to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers, before going to the Heat. In reality, Butler was exposing flaws in young teams’ work ethic that refused to push for greatness (granted, he didn’t use the softest touch, but he is who he is).

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bam Adebayo proved draft grades wrong when they doubted his ability to grow into a top-level big man in the NBA. One grade from the Sun-Sentinel said,

“He didn’t always rebound or play with intensity. Despite his size and athleticism, he struggled to finish over length. And while he reportedly has a nice perimeter game, he didn’t show it at Kentucky.”

Adebayo flipped the script with an incredible work ethic to transform himself into a formidable unicorn with an insistent motor.

After winning the Sixth Man of the Year award in the Big Ten conference, Duncan Robinson went undrafted, getting buried on the Heat’s G-League team before becoming a key scorer on Miami’s title run.

Players like Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder have had long careers in the NBA before landing in Miami, turning into vital three-and-D pieces when others saw washed veterans. Goran Dragic was previously available for everyone to pluck off the Heat’s roster, spending most of the start of the 2019-2020 season on the bench behind rookie Kendrick Nunn before averaging 20.9 points and 4.7 assists in the playoffs.

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This underrated Heat team is not supposed to be here. It was supposed to be the Milwaukee Bucks, following the lead of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Or the Boston Celtics, with the new and improved version of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Or what about the title-defending Toronto Raptors?

No. It is the Miami Heat in the final dance, a team that started out the season adopting the 3:00 a.m. workout schedule of Jimmy Buckets. It is the magic of a hard-working young squad, buying in on the standards set by grizzled veterans that preach high energy defense, wearing down the teams with supposedly more talent and more expectations.

They’ll want you to buy into the hype of an NBA Finals narrative starring a purple and gold team of destiny, but what this Finals is really about is David vs. Goliath, the Rebels vs. the Empire. This year’s Finals is about effort and determination beating out working talent.

A group of guys that everyone shared pedestrian expectations for is now pushing for a title against some of the NBA’s biggest names. Yet again, the faces on the Heat are changing the narrative.

Are you paying attention?