Heat wing Jimmy Butler, a five-time All-Star, has been having an MVP-level impact on Miami’s success when available this season, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Butler has led the way during the team’s recent 13-4 tear, which has propelled Miami from a 7-14 record to its current 20-18 mark, good for the No. 4 seed in the East.
Butler is averaging team bests in points (22.5 PPG), assists (9.1 APG), steals (2.1 SPG) and plus-minus (plus-117) during this 17-game turnaround. Though missing 14 games early may keep Butler from actually netting MVP honors, his impact on one of the best teams in its conference should certainly help cement his status as an All-NBA player for the 2020/21 season. The club is 16-8 when Butler plays and 4-10 when he sits.
There’s more out of South Beach:
- For now, Heat forward Chris Silva may have taken the rotation slot of rookie Precious Achiuwa, the No. 20 selection out of Memphis in the 2020 draft, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Achiuwa played season lows of 4:33 on Thursday and just 3:02 on Friday, both Heat victories.
- As the Heat rise up the East rankings, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if Miami should be proactive in looking to make win-now trades this month. The NBA trade deadline is March 25, and the pricey expiring contracts of veterans Meyers Leonard, Kelly Olynyk, and Andre Iguodala could all be in play. The Heat hold team options on Leonard and Iguodala for the 2021/22 season.
- In a separate article for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman speculates about whether the Heat could realistically trade for Magic All-Star center Nikola Vučević. Such a move would presumably send current starting center Bam Adebayo back to starting at the power forward position, at least on offense. Winderman notes that a deal centered around Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Precious Achiuwa, and some salary-matching veterans could be enough to pique the Magic’s interest. This would significantly deplete Miami’s backcourt.