3 Heat players who need to step up to lift Miami out of the play-in race

If these three players step up over the next nine games, the Miami Heat should secure a guaranteed playoff spot.

Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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1. Jimmy Butler

The last player who drastically needs to step up his level of play is a no-brainer. It's Jimmy Butler. The Heat need "Playoff Jimmy" just a bit earlier than expected. His past five games have been rough as he's averaging 18 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. Butler is shooting 46 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range on 2 attempts per game. Not incredible, but not bad either. Just meh.

"Just meh" could also probably be the slogan for Butler's 2023-24 NBA season. He's just been ok. He's had his stinkers, he's had games where you think he's back and he's warning the NBA, and then back to mediocre play. This usually is the case, but not quite to this extent. Either way, he has 10 games to get this team out of the play-in.

Yes, other guys need to play well, but it all comes back to 22. You need more and with a super weak schedule with some good teams sprinkled in here and there, you need "Playoff Jimmy" present for all of them. The Heat gain nothing being a 7 or 8 seed. So, why not go out and get the job done, and you get a week off to plan for either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the New York Knicks instead of the 60-win Boston Celtics?

Butler playing well instills confidence, we see it all the time. He can't control anyone else's play, but he can influence and dictate what's working. If there was ever a time for Butler to start caring about the regular season, it's now.

Next. next. The 10 Greatest Heat players in history, ranked by Player Efficiency Rating (PER). dark