Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat are down 3-0 to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. They are on the verge of getting swept after making it to the NBA Finals last season, and Butler’s poor play is the main reason they are struggling against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co.
Butler is one of the best players in the NBA. However, he hasn’t been playing like one versus the Bucks, and one of his biggest supporters at ESPN has had enough of his subpar play.
Jimmy Butler is shooting 30.6% from the field vs. the Bucks
Butler shot an efficient 49.7% from the floor during the 2020-21 regular season. He averaged 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 7.1 assists and registered a PER of 26.5.
However, through the first three games of the Bucks series, Butler looks like a role player, not an All-Star. He’s shooting a woeful 30.6% overall and only averaging 15.3 points. In Game 1, he shot 18.2% from the field and had six turnovers. The five-time All-Star looks like a complete shell of himself and is struggling to score against Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, two of the best defenders in the NBA.
Butler told reporters he’s “stupidly locked in” before the Bucks series started. He felt confident about the Heat’s chances of getting back to the Finals and winning it all. His quotes will be made fun of for a long time by NBA fans if Miami can’t make NBA history and erase a 3-0 deficit against the Bucks since the Texas native has played poorly after speaking so confidently.
Butler has a lot of fans in the media since he plays hard and is tough. However, one of his loudest advocates is sick of what he’s seeing from the small forward.
Stephen A. Smith calls out Jimmy Butler
After the Heat lost Game 2 in Milwaukee, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith called out Butler on First Take. The veteran pundit tried to fire up the swingman by going after him on national television, but his tactics didn’t work.
Miami got blown out in Game 3 by a final score of 113-84. Butler finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. He shot 7-of-17 from the field and finished with a +/- of -26.
Smith likes Butler since the Heat star plays with passion every night and never backs down from a challenge. However, he’s disgusted by what he’s seeing from him against the Bucks. Butler played like a superstar in the 2020 Finals against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, but he looks lost on both sides of the ball in this year’s postseason and is on his way to getting bounced in the first round.
What will the Heat do this offseason?
The Heat have to make some changes this offseason. Butler and Bam Adebayo are still the franchise cornerstones, but it’s evident president Pat Riley needs to add more firepower via trades or free agency.
Victor Oladipo‘s absence is being felt by the Heat against the Bucks. The shooting guard underwent a second surgery in 28 months to repair his right quadriceps tendon and only appeared in four games with Miami after being acquired from the Houston Rockets. Oladipo will be a free agent this summer after completing the final season of a four-year, $85 million contract he signed in 2016.
Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan are two All-Stars who have been linked to the Heat in the past. If the Los Angeles Clippers lose to the Dallas Mavericks in their first-round series, Leonard could decline his 2021-22 player option and join forces with Butler and Adebayo in South Beach. Meanwhile, DeRozan is a free agent this offseason, and he has a strong relationship with Butler.