Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler has never been one to mince words — even when talking about his own team. Butler took the Heat to task Friday, calling the team's play "terrible" during an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN.
Butler's not wrong. After making the Finals last season, the Heat are just 12-17 to open the year. Butler isn't pleased with that, but he's confident the team will turn it around.
"Terrible. Terrible. Just terrible. 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.'"
Why have the Heat struggled this season?
The Heat's struggles can be traced back to Butler, who missed 10 games after testing positive for COVID-19. Butler discussed his bout with the virus, explaining he had mild symptoms, however, he described the situation as "scary."
Over that stretch, the team went just 2-8. The Heat have still underachieved with Butler, going 9-8 in 17 games with Butler. That's better, obviously, but still a far cry from last season, when the team put up a .603 winning percentage.
While the team has continued to play strong defense, allowing 110.5 points per game, its offensive numbers have dropped. At 107.2 points per game, the Heat rank 12th in the Eastern Conference in scoring. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro have increased their offensive production, but Butler, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson are all averaging fewer points per game this season.
As Butler noted, the Heat have time to right the ship. The NBA playoffs won't start until May 22, giving the Heat a couple months to find the magic that led them to the Finals last season.
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