Not: Jimmy Butler ⬇️
Not playing in the preseason can go one of two ways: A player can start the regular season looking fresh or rusty. Well, Jimmy Butler looks like the latter. In his first three games, Butler scored an average of 15.3 points and missed 27 of his first 40 shots.
On Monday, he went 4 of 11 for 13 points in 29 minutes in Miami’s loss in Milwaukee. This, after going 3 of 11 overall against the Celtics last week. (He sat out Saturday’s game in Minnesota on the second night of a back-to-back set.)
He doesn’t have much lift when going to the basket.
He doesn’t make things easy for himself, taking shots with a high degree of difficulty too often.
Even the easy jump shots that should be automatic for him are clanking off the front of the rim. Missing short is a sign of tired legs.
Butler was listed on the injury report for Wednesday night’s game against the Nets as questionable with right knee tendinitis. That could explain Butler’s underwhelming play.
Encouragingly, he’s getting to the free throw line (19 of 22 from the stripe this season) but he hasn’t made more than a third of his baskets in any game more than a week into the season and his fit in the offense has looked disjointed.
Butler’s usage rate of 23.3% of Miami’s possessions is a low since he joined the Heat in 2019. He’s been a bystander in an offense that has more often flowed through Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. That the offense tilts toward his younger teammates now is OK — Butler prioritizes April, May and June over October, November and December — but the Heat need Butler to be healthy and more productive when he’s on the court.