Spo's comments suggest how he really feels about Miami Heat star's recent change

Los Angeles Clippers v Miami Heat
Los Angeles Clippers v Miami Heat / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra knows what he wants from Jimmy Butler but also knows he can push his star player only so much.

Spoelstra and Butler’s teammates have been nudging Butler to shoot more 3-pointers for years, but Butler has made it clear through his play and his comments that he prefers to play below the arc, not beyond it.

Still, after Butler’s recent shooting performance in Saturday’s win over the Utah Jazz in which he made all three of his 3-point attempts, his coach suggested that he’d like Butler to continue to show off his range.

Jimmy Butler's coach and teammates have been pushing him to take more 3s and now it might finally be happening.

“He knows how I feel,” Spoelstra said with a grin after the game. “If I say too much, he’s the ultimate contrarian. He’s a great shooter. Why not? It’s like a little pop-a-shot for him.”

Butler, 34, has never truly embraced the 3-point shot despite solid shooting percentages over his career. Not once has he even averaged four 3-point attempts in a season, nor has he ever eclipsed 100 made 3-pointers in a season in his career.

However, it appears Butler is beginning to warm to the 3-point line, at least as the Heat ramp up into playoff gear.

Butler has made at least one 3-pointer in his last 14 games for the longest regular-season streak of his NBA career and has shot 23 of 41 (56.1%) on 3s during that stretch.

“It actually hasn’t been an emphasis,” Butler said. “If I wanted to shoot all 3s, I actually could and I think that I would shoot a really good percentage. I just like running into the paint and running into people and seeing who’s going to fall down first.”

Of course that will always be a part of Butler’s shot diet, but he has also already made the most 3-pointers (43) than in any season since joining the Heat in 2019. He’s on pace to finish this regular season with 66 makes on 144 3-point attempts. That would be the most makes and attempts since splitting time between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers in the 2018-19 season – his last season before joining the Heat via sign-and-trade.

“I want him to keep taking them with confidence,” Bam Adebayo said.” Keep making them and keep talking that s***.”