NBA Power Rankings week 10: OKC Thunder vault up ladder

OKC Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder Power Rankings week nine
OKC Thunder Power Rankings week nine Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers talks to Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat in the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center . (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Miami Heat. 2. team. 110. . 24-8. Previous: 3rd

Miami Heat:

Offense: (110.8) 8th
Defense: (106.3) 11th
Net: (plus +4..5) 9th

Games Week 10 (3-0): Won vs Jazz: 107-104, Pacers: 113-112, 76ers: 117-116 (OT)
Games Week 11 (4 games): Mon at Wizards | Thurs vs Raptors | Fri at Magic| Sun vs Blazers

With the Wolves struggling to stay out of the basement and the 76ers showing signs they are in desperate need of a leader and someone they can rely on in the clutch the value of Jimmy Butler rises by the day.

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Butler leads the Heat in scoring (20.3 points), assists (6.6) and steals (2.0) but his true value is his leadership. It’s no coincidence his young court mates exude confidence and unlike Karl-Anthony Towns or Ben Simmons, they appreciate him showing faith in them. In fact, it almost feels like they want to impress him and make themselves worthy of his faith in them.

Bam Adebayo, in particular, has blossomed under Butler’s tutelage and the youngsters Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson all carry a certain swag to their games.

One note — each of these youngsters will be entering their first postseason with opponents specifically game planning for them. Of the trio, Robinson might be in for some payback. I’ve noted he specifically starts jawing at his opponent after he hits one shot. Not after he nails several triples or hits 20 points — after ONE 3-point make.

Those aren’t things peers take too kindly to and there are a number of vets in the East who’ll remember his bravado and happily embarrass him as payback.  It will be interesting to see if Butler gets him to dial that back just a bit because there’s no need to give a potential playoff opponent extra reason to lock you down in the postseason.