Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat have been outright phenomenal to start the 2021-2022 campaign. Here, we have a detailed look into their performance from their first 7 games.
The SportsRush Mailbag – a newly-introduced segment in which we dive deep into a team’s performance on a weekly basis, discussing what’s been working and what’s not for the same. And as you may have gauged from the title, this article will be focusing on Jimmy Butler and his Miami Heat team.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Incredible 6-1 start to the 2021-2022 campaign for Jimmy Butler and co.
The Miami Heat are one of the deadliest teams in the entire association. Starting this young season with an outstanding 6-1 (including a 42-point blowout win over the defending champs) record, everything seems to be going their way.
Winning five out of their six victories by a double-digit margin, Erik Spoelstra’s boys have given the franchise the start they dreamt about. Sitting on top of the Eastern Conference with a 5-game win streak, the Heat are now tied with only the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls to have the league’s best record.
Butler: 25.0 PPG
Herro: 22.4 PPG
Bam: 20.8 PPG
The Heat are on fire this season 🔥 pic.twitter.com/gLIMlhCjB2
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 3, 2021
Here are a few positive takeaways from their electric start.
Jimmy Butler making an early case for the MVP honors
Jimmy Butler has simply been terrific to start this young campaign. Butler has been averaging 25 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 steals on 51.3% shooting from the field (career-highs in all), to go along with his 5.6 assists per game.
A player who was snubbed from the All-Star game last year is clearly on his revenge tour putting the entire league on notice. Being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for week #2, there is no doubt, Butler has been one of the best players so far.
Jimmy Butler is the MVP favorite right now.
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 3, 2021
Bam Adebayo igniting a stellar defense
The Miami Heat have some tough players on their roster. With the addition of PJ Tucker, Markieff Morris, and Kyle Lowry playing alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Heat has proven to be the best defensive team in the entire league.
In these 7 games, they are the best in the league in defensive rating (97.9), 1st in opponent field goals (39%) and have set a franchise record for not being outrebounded by any of their opponents so far.
Adebayo has been a huge factor in Miami’s defensive successes. Apart from averaging a career-high in points (20.8), the 2020 Tokyo Games gold medallist has also been averaging a career-best 13.8 rebounds per game.
The Miami Heat defense this season 😮🔥 pic.twitter.com/owJFQ1gpIR
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 2, 2021
Tyler Herro playing like a legit Sixth Man of the Year candidate
Terming Tyler Herro’s performances these past few games good will be a massive understatement. The 21-year-old, coming off a pretty underwhelming 2020-2021 campaign, has been thriving in his sixth-man role and is the perfect boost of energy off-the-bench the Heat require.
So far, the former Kentucky Wildcat has put up 22.4 points, 6 rebounds and 4.4 assists on a 47.2% shooting from the field and 40.8% shooting from beyond the arc (career-highs in all). And his 157 points are the most-ever scored by a reserve through the first seven games in NBA history.
Herro’s increase in production is a huge reason for the Heat’s success over the past few weeks.
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The Red Flags
While the organization will be elated (and honestly, why not?) with their recent results, there are a few matters of concern we’ve spotted during these games.
Let’s have a look at those.
Kyle Lowry’s lack of production
The Heat acquiring Kyle Lowry this past summer was regarded as the best offseason move, voted by a few executives and scouts. Much to their surprise, the 2019 NBA champ has had a silent few games for Miami. Averaging his lowest stats since the 2010-2011 season, Lowry has put up only 10.7 points along with 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.
However, in the Heat’s recent-most 125-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, Kyle had his best performance in a Miami uniform. Playing 36 minutes, the 6-foot-1 two-way guard put up 22 points, 5 assists, and 9 rebounds. And without a doubt, with time, the 6-time All-Star is surely going to find his rhythm while adjusting to his new team.
Kyle Lowry tonight:
His best game with the Heat. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/5jJgqOncFU
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) November 3, 2021
Duncan Robinson’s inefficient shooting
Over the past few years, Duncan Robinson has really proved himself to be one of the league’s best shooters. And after yet another incredible year last season, the front office decided to reward the sharpshooter with a massive 5-year $90 million contract.
Surprisingly, Robinson has been extremely inefficient shooting the ball so far. Averaging merely 9.9 points per game, the 6-foot-7 guard has been shooting a poor 37.5% from the field, and 34.5% from beyond the arc (and 2/3 shooting from the free-throw line).
Duncan really needs to find his shot back before he further goes into a slump.
No return time-table yet for Victor Oladipo
Sidelined with several knee and quad injuries, Victor Oladipo has not taken on the hardwood since April 9th. While it looks like the Heat has managed to find a few replacements for Oladipo, the team will definitely benefit furthermore once he makes his comeback.
Unfortunately for all the Heat fans, the franchise is yet to release a return timetable for Vic. And until then, Jimmy Butler and co. will have to continue playing without the likes of their 2-time All-Star.
These past few games the Heat played and defeated some of the league’s deadliest teams like the Bucks, Nets, and Mavericks. Playing the Celtics, Jazz, Nuggets, and Lakers as their next four matchups, Miami looks to be well in form to grab a few more wins over these powerhouses.
If the Miami Heat continues to maintain this level of performance, unquestionably, they will be a strong favorite to lift the 2022 Larry O’Brien trophy.