Jimmy Butler’s midrange mastery must continue for Miami Heat

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) puts up a shot over Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington (25)(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) puts up a shot over Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington (25)(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

As Long As Jimmy Butler Keeps Getting To ‘His’ Spots, The Miami Heat Are Fine

What completes Jimmy Butler, as well as any other go-to star in this league, is their willingness to score from multiple areas. For the Heat to be successful, Butler has to continue doing that and take this in example of why you should believe he can.

Per Cleaning The Glass, Butler is shooting 49 percent (21-43) on shots within 4-14 feet from the basket, which ranks him in the 72nd percentile among all wing players for Short Midrange makes. Butler is currently on pace to have his most efficient year from such an area since the 2017-18 season.

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In looking back at the shot so perfectly executed against Charlotte en route to that victory, you can recall that this was a very similar action that the Heat ran against the Golden State Warriors on October 27th—just moments before Miami pulled out the, 123-111, victory over the defending champions.

Gabe Vincent comes over to screen Klay Thompson (to potentially force Stephen Curry onto Butler) but Thompson, who’s still a valuable defender in this league, denies the switch.

With Thompson hanging on his hip, Butler chooses to drive left, then utilizes the pump-fake to lure Thompson in the air. Jimmy then raises to convert an off-balance jumper, giving Miami a five-point lead with less than ten seconds remaining.

With the Miami Heat being constantly involved in several close games this season, the need for Butler’s aggressiveness to drive and draw fouls has heightened tremendously.

As he currently ranks seventh in the league in Free Throws Attempted (8.9 per game), those abilities can slow the game down but considering Butler’s age and workload, it shouldn’t be completely relied upon for 70-plus games per season moving forward.

As the NBA continues to be heavily reliant on outside shooting, the midrange jump shot is still a much-needed skill for top scorers, especially in close games. Many Miami Heat greats have steered toward that direction in the past and this trend should continue for Jimmy Butler as well.

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And as for a Miami Heat team fighting to ascend to Eastern Conference contention once again, now shouldn’t be the time to think otherwise either. They will go as far as Butler can take them and if history says anything—that should be pretty far.