With a two-game winning streak, there’s finally a sliver of hope that the Miami Heat can turn things around this season. The Heat have been ravaged by COVID-19 and depleted through injuries, but the most noticeable absence is always when Jimmy Butler is out, and no one else’s return makes such a striking difference.
The numbers speak for themselves this season. When Butler is playing, the Heat are 6-5. Without the 31-year-old five-time All-Star, (Butler recently missed 10 games due to coronavirus) Miami is 3-9. The Heat currently sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with a disappointing 9-14 record, but with Butler back on the court, fellow All-Star Bam Adebayo couldn’t be happier.
“He does what every max player does,” said Adebayo of Butler, “he figures it out.”
“If he’s not scoring, he’s making plays for other people, he’s rebounding, he’s doing all the little stuff, getting us easy free throws by being aggressive in the bonus,” Adebayo continued, who himself scored 24 points with 11 rebounds and five assists on Sunday.
“He’s just one of those intelligent players. One of those guys. He helped me develop my game, just learning from him, figuring out how to take somebody off the dribble, get a foul. Just the small stuff that makes a big difference.”
Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang tweeted on February 8, “The Heat has outscored opponents by 5.7 points per 100 possessions when Jimmy Butler.”
Heat’s Tyler Herro also only had complimentary words for Butler. “If we need to get a basket, or if we just need to slow things down and run something, to get a good look, I think he’s able to do that,” the 21-year-old guard said. “I think everyone sees how well the offense flows when he’s in the game.”
Butler Remains His Toughest Critic But Believes the Heat are ‘Heading in the Right Direction’
During the Heat’s 109-103 win over the New York Knicks on Super Bowl Sunday, Butler scored 17 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists, but the Big Face Coffee maker was not satisfied. He shot 3-of-11 and was responsible for a team-high four turnovers.
“I think we could still be better, starting with myself,” said Butler. “Can’t have that happen, because everybody’s going to follow suit.”
“But I think the ball’s moving, everybody’s getting in the right places. Everybody knows where the ball’s supposed to go. That’s a start. So we’re heading in the right direction.”
Follow the Heavy on Heat Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Coach Spo Reveals What He Believes Makes Butler ‘One of the Most Unique Competitors’ in the NBA
Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra said that Butler “is one of the most unique competitors in this league. Because as he gets to a 10 competitively, emotionally, passionately, he’s able to remain so incredibly stable mentally, that he can read the game and what’s necessary for that possession.”
“And it doesn’t just have to be about him scoring,” Spoelstra continued. “When you have a guy you can just turn the ball to on the other end, you know you’re going to get a coherent possession offensively. It just takes a lot of pressure off your basketball team, mentally.”