On a recent episode of the Miami Heat podcast 5 on the Floor, hosts Ethan J. Skolnick, Greg Sylvander and Sean Rochester debated who the third most important player in Heat history is — Alonzo Mourning or Jimmy Butler. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are one and two, respectively.
New @5OTF_— Sean Rochester (@SRochesterNBA) August 30, 2022
Who is the third most important player in Miami Heat history?
I joined @EthanJSkolnick & @GregSylvander to do the impossible -- assess the impact of Jimmy Butler in 3 seasons against the impact of Alonzo Mourning in 11.https://t.co/wGLOViVxCY
After Butler’s performance in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, I said he had surpassed Mourning. I stand by that, but I am open to the debate. For example, Mourning spent 11 seasons with Miami. Butler is going into his fourth season with the Heat. How much does that count?
Mourning currently serves as an executive with the team. He’s traveled with Pat Riley to road playoff games for more than a decade. Zo won a ring with Miami and was arguably the best center of the 2006 Finals. Butler hasn’t won one yet.
To me, Butler’s superb playoff performances in the 2020 NBA Finals — going toe-to-toe with LeBron James after Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic got hurt — and the 2022 playoffs lift him over Miami’s first franchise player.
Mourning finished second in MVP voting for the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season — it’s hard to imagine Butler finishing second in MVP voting with the Heat — but Miami fell as the 1 seed to the New York Knicks in the first round that year. Zo was third in MVP voting for the 1999-2000 season — though it was a year Shaq won all but one first-place vote — but the Heat lost in the second round to the Knicks that year. Playoff success outweighs regular season success.
What do you think? Who gets the nod, Mourning or Butler?