After making an improbable NBA Finals run in 2020, the Miami Heat have hit a wall in 2021.
In now his second year with the franchise, Jimmy Butler has come to embody what it means to be a part of the “Heat culture.” In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on The Jump, the team’s undoubted leader addressed Miami’s uncharacteristically poor play.
“Terrible. Terrible. Just terrible,” Butler said. “Not the way that we say we want to play. Not the way we’re supposed to be playing. But it’s OK, because we will turn it around. And like the saying says, ‘better late than never.’”
With a 12-17 record, the Heat currently hold the No. 10 spot in the Eastern Conference. At this point in last year’s Eastern Conference championship-winning season, the Butler-led Miami squad was 21-8.
Despite the lackluster record, Butler has continued to put up the kind of stats we’ve come to expect from him. In addition to the defensive energy and intangible leadership qualities that he brings to the court, the Heat’s star small forward is averaging 19.1 points, 7.7 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Butler is a fantastic player, but he’s not exactly known for his ability as a scorer. What the Heat really need is an elite offensive talent.
At this point in the season, not a single player on the Miami roster is averaging more than 20 points per game. Heat leading scorer Bam Adebayo comes closest with 19.8 ppg, and the next highest under Butler is Tyler Herro with 17.4 ppg.
Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat will look to turn things around in an NBA Finals rematch with the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at 8:30 p.m. E.T.