Jimmy Butler, a Miami Heat player, aims to reach the East finals as 7-seed

Jimmy Butler said that he doesn’t care that many people in the NBA don’t think the seventh-seeded Miami Heat can make the Eastern Conference playoffs again this season.

As he plans to bring the association into its first play-in game against the No. 8-seeded Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night, Butler does as such with a similar rebellious disposition he has carried with him all through most of his career.

“Nope,” Butler said after Monday’s practice when asked if he’s embracing the underdog role after going into last year’s playoffs as the No 1 seed. “It’s all the same. Didn’t nobody pick us to win last year, either. So who cares. Y’all not going to pick us this year, still don’t give a damn.

“In 10 years, y’all still not going to pick us. Still don’t give a damn.”

Butler was asked if he believes he needs to approach this postseason campaign with the same mindset as last year, when the Heat were on the verge of another Finals appearance before falling to the Boston Celtics in a heartbreaking Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He found the middle value of 27.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the Heat during 17 postseason games a year prior.

“I’m going to do whatever it takes for my team to win, night in and night out,” Butler said. “And honestly, I could care less what anybody writes, if I was a good basketball player or a bad basketball player. Coach Pat [Riley] and coach [Erik Spoelstra] didn’t bring me here because of what y’all write, in the most respectful way possible. As I take on [Tuesday’s] matchup and we get that dub, we’ll worry about what goes on down the line, but I think I’m going to be a decent basketball player at the end of the day.”

Spoelstra reiterated after Monday’s practice that he wants his team to embrace the experience, just as he did Sunday.

“First, I think this is going to be fun,” Spoelstra said after Sunday’s win over the Orlando Magic. “I think you have to embrace this new experience. To the old heads in our locker room, each of us have experienced long NBA careers and none have had this opportunity. I think it’s been great for the league. How harrowing this has been the last six, eight weeks for 16 teams in the West and the East, has just been great for competition.”