4 Heat players who failed to meet expectations this season

Who on the Heat’s roster is to blame for failed expectations this season? We rank them below. 
San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat
San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Because of some bad losses this month, the Miami Heat now have to rely on other teams' performances to determine their fate in the East's standings. However, there is still a glimmer of hope for Miami to secure the sixth seed and avoid the play-in, or the seventh seed instead of the eighth in the East, which would grant them a home-court advantage in the play-in tournament.

This isn't the kind of standings-watching the Heat were planning on doing at this point in the season. Not after last year's Finals run. So how did the Heat get here? Injuries certainly didn't help, but some players also simply failed to play up to expectations. Here they are.

1. Jimmy Butler

There appears to be a duality in Jimmy Butler's performance, with one version of him deferring during the regular season and another version determined to succeed in the playoffs. The recent loss to the Denver Nuggets exemplified this divide. Despite Miami needing Butler to be at his best, his performance fell short. This could be attributed to his illness that kept him out of practice or his tendency to conserve energy throughout his Heat career. Nevertheless, this recurring issue of a lack of urgency and impact from their star player has become a common theme.

On February 23, 2024, Jimmy Butler took to Instagram with a post captioned "It's Time." It is indeed time for him to display some urgency. Just a few weeks ago, the Heat seemed poised for a strong finish toward the playoffs, holding a promising position for the No. 6 seed. However, four consecutive losses have dropped them to the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference, forcing them into a battle to avoid the play-in tournament. With only two games left in the regular season, this is the moment for the team to showcase their determination and ability to overcome adversity once again. It all begins with Jimmy.

After establishing the nickname "Playoff Jimmy" due to his consistent late-season heroics, Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler finds himself in an unexpected and unusual slump. Consequently, the Heat have suffered four consecutive losses and dropped from sixth to eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. This situation only reinforces the belief that Miami's success heavily relies on the performance of "Playoff Jimmy." As the playoffs draw near, the question arises: can Butler rise to the occasion when his teammate Bam Adebayo is struggling?

The truth is, the Heat desperately need both "Playoff Jimmy" and an improved version of Adebayo. In the 2019-20 season, Adebayo's exceptional defense and offensive rating of 121.6 played a crucial role in Butler leading the Heat to the NBA Finals. Similarly, in the 2021-22 season, Adebayo's offensive rating of 119.7 contributed significantly to the Heat's advancement to the Eastern Conference finals. However, relying solely on Butler's extraordinary performance will not be sufficient for Miami to replicate that level of success once again.