Without a doubt, the Miami Heat player the Denver Nuggets are the most wary about heading into the 2023 NBA Finals is Jimmy Butler. The Nuggets would have been preparing against a different opponent if it were not for Butler’s brilliance in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Butler has made it possible for teams to actually fear a No. 8 seed. Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon knows all about it, and he’s going to be among the last ones to underestimate the value of  Butler.

Gordon even came across as though he expects to have a bigger trouble handling the defensive assignment against Butler than he did in the previous rounds opposite bigger (literally and figuratively) stars when he told Nuggets reporter Harrison Wind of his thoughts on guarding the former Marquette Golden Eagles star.

The Nuggets will always be carried by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, but Gordon will have an incredibly important role in the NBA Finals — one that might very well dictate the tone of the series. So far in the playoffs, Butler is averaging 28.5 points on 48.3 FG%, 5.7 assists, and 7.0 rebounds. Gordon presents a tough challenge for Butler as well. Gordon is bigger and longer, and after dealing with the likes of Durant, James, and KAT in the previous series, he should still be feeling good about his chances of neutralizing — or at least slowing down — Butler.