J.B. Bickerstaff shares how he’s been inspired by Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is using the 2023 NBA Finals as an opportunity to learn from the Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets and Jimmy Butler.

The Cavs skipper recently explained that he’s made some key observations while watching the Heat and Nuggets, and it sounds like he wants to apply some of what he’s learned to his own squad.

“Not only do I watch, but I listen too,” he said. “And I think one of the things that in listening to Miami and the Heat and Jimmy Butler and their comments, they keep saying that don’t care what anybody else thinks. And when you play with that type of mindset, you can play without any insecurities and play with complete confidence.

“As an organization, you look at the Heat — and the Nuggets — from top to bottom, and you see the consistency that’s been there, the consistency in their core players, the consistency in their coaching staff, front office, ownership group. That allows your players to play with a freedom and a confidence where the only thing that they’re thinking about is, ‘How do we go out and win to the highest level that we can possibly win?’

“And I think that’s extremely important. So, as a coach, trying to figure out how can we bring that same consistency? How can we bring that same level of confidence and shed the insecurities that you may get from listening to the outside world so your guys can be the best versions of themselves when it matters most?”

The Cavs are a young squad, so they’re still figuring out how to build a winning culture. It’s a good sign that Bickerstaff is studying the Nuggets and Heat to figure out what goes into a winning formula, as both teams have certainly figured out what is required for success in that department.

The Heat may be the best example in the entire NBA of how important mindset and culture can be to winning. Despite having a roster that’s arguably less talented than Cleveland’s (or comparable), Miami is just three wins away from claiming the 2023 NBA title.

For comparison, the Cavs won just a single playoff game this year and were eliminated in the first round by the New York Knicks.

What makes the Heat’s run this year even more impressive is the fact that they’ve gone through some elite competition to get to this point. If they finish the job against the Nuggets, they’ll be able to say that they eliminated three legitimate title contenders (the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Nuggets) en route to their championship.

One has to imagine that the Heat’s season would have ended long ago if not for their gritty culture and winning attitude.

Bickerstaff and the Cavs will look to take a step forward in those areas in the 2023-24 campaign. The organization certainly has a solid foundation in place from a culture standpoint, but there’s still work to do in order to reach the next step.

Miami and Denver, meanwhile, will continue their NBA Finals battle on Wednesday in Game 3. The series is currently tied 1-1.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.