The 7th-place Miami Heat have not been exceptional for the duration of this season. A packed Eastern Conference combined with poor offensive play has created a situation where Miami could easily be bounced in the play-in tournament or the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Luckily for the Miami faithful, there is still hope.
Jimmy Butler has been the Heat’s most consistent spark plug in what could be considered his most impressive season.
Miami has not been a strong offensive team. They hold the association’s 4th-worst field goal percentage and 5th-worst 3-point percentage. Additionally, they are 28th in terms of pace and 25th in terms of offensive rating. Players such as Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, and Caleb Martin are all capable of having high-octane scoring nights but have not proven they can be true number-one options.
Jimmy Butler is sparking the Miami Heat
The Heat have won 4 of their last 5 games thanks in large part to Butler’s play. In that same time span, he’s averaged 26.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6 assists. Even though the 33-year-old has dealt with injuries this year, it can be argued that this has been one of, if not his most impressive campaigns. Some such as Kyle Lowry, would even place Butler in the NBA’s elite class of players.
“He’s one of the best players in the NBA,” Kyle Lowry told ESPN. “Both sides of the ball. He’s in his rhythm and he’s in his groove where he just is going and playing well.”
Recently, Heat Head Coach Eric Spoelstra claimed that his team can compete with the NBA’s best on offense.
"“We definitely have enough,” Spoelstra told ESPN. “And really our offense has been trending in a better direction, and that hasn’t just been Jimmy. It’s been getting to our game, our attacks, our identity.”"
Even though the boys from South Beach are beginning to mesh, it is clear that the Maquette product has had less assistance this year than he has in seasons prior. In 2022, Miami had the best team 3-point percentage and averaged the 8th most assists per contest. Given that the group has not dramatically changed, it is fair to say that they’ve underachieved this season. As a result, Butler has had to score more and take on increased responsibility.
In a year where the Miami Heat’s role players have not lived up to expectations, Butler has surpassed his own. With 9 games left, he embraces what figures to be a fight to the finish.
"“Everybody’s trying to win at this point in the season; everybody’s trying to move up,” Butler told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.“"
Every game matters, as it has all year long. But right now for us, more than anything, we kind of have to win to be where we want to be. But I like it like that.”