After 21 games into the 2020-2021 NBA Season, the Miami Heat is barely recognizable from the team that made their way to the Finals last year.
Sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 7-14 record, Heat star Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo vented their frustration after their 103-100 loss to the Washington Wizards (5-13) on February 3. It was the second consecutive game in which the Heat had a lead before squandering it in the fourth quarter.
“We let two slip away,” Adebayo said of the losses to the Hornets and Wizards. “So the locker room is disappointed. I feel like we have mental lapses or two-minute or three-minute stretches where the other team comes back into the game.”
Despite losing seven of their last eight games, Butler hasn’t given up hope that they can turn things around during this shortened 72-game season. The five-time All-Star expressed the need for patience, seemingly preaching to himself as much as to everyone else.
“Nothing’s really ever as bad as it ever seems, or as good as it seems at the same time,” Butler said. “So once again, we know what we need to do. It’s said all the time. It’s all about us going out there and doing it. Ain’t no schemes. It’s not that. We know what we’re capable of and we know supposed to be doing. It’s just up to us to go do it.”
“We haven’t been playing good basketball,” Butler added. “When you don’t play good basketball, you lose. That’s why we’re 7-14.”
Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang pointed out the lack of Adebayo and Butler’s lack of playtime together could be to blame for the Heat’s disappointing start. “Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler are a minus-31 in the 207 minutes they’ve played together this season,” Chiang tweeted. “Last regular season, they were a plus-234. Says a lot about how the Heat’s season is going right now.”
Duncan Robinson Also Vented About the Team’s Performance: ‘We’re Surprised It’s Not Going to Plan’
It wasn’t just Adebayo and Butler unhappy with the team’s performance this season, Heat star Duncan Robinson also voiced his concerns after their embarrassing loss to a Russell Westbrook-less Washington on Wednesday night.
“There’s frustration,” said Robinson. “This is a super competitive group with high expectations. We’re surprised it’s not going according to plan. We’re looking for solutions.”
“Last year, you saw connectivity on defense and offense, moving the ball, enjoying other people’s success and having fun,” Robinson continued. “I think that’s probably one of the biggest differences I think we’ve all felt.”
“We’ve got to start playing for each other more,” Robinson said. “That’s not to say that one person is sticking the ball, or anything like that. It’s everybody.”
Head Coach Erik Spoelstra Desperately Needs to Shake Things Up & Make a Trade
Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra is struggling to offer up excuses as to why the Heat can’t get a win, especially since now that the team is back to full strength after being ravaged by COVID-19.
“Look, everybody’s disappointed, everybody’s uncomfortable, we all, staff and players, we want to be better than what we showed,” said Spoelstra after the team’s loss to Washington.
The Heat’s issue is no longer merely finding the right combination of players, Spoelstra has shuffled through 14 different starting lineups since the season started, it appears that problem is that Miami is missing a big man.
On February 1, the NBA Insider reporter for 5 Reasons Sports Network tweeted out some sobering, albeit not shocking news about the Heat’s current roster.
He tweeted, “The Heat never intended to go into the season with this roster. They had multiple bigs they wanted to sign but those players took larger deals elsewhere. They’re searching the trade market for a starting caliber 4. This team will look different after the deadline.”
According to Adam Clutch’s report, they’ve been trying this whole time to add a forward in order to avoid that embarrassment.
While the Heat’s roster has pretty stayed the same since last season, they haven’t replaced the talent that was Jae Crowder, a 6-foot-6 power forward who was traded to the Phoenix Suns.