Jimmy Butler out for Heat's Game vs. Kings with Hip Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2020

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) sets up a play during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Miami Heat wing Jimmy Butler will miss Monday's game against the Sacramento Kings due to right hip soreness, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.  

Butler is in the middle of his first season with the Heat, and he has played a significant role in helping Miami become one of the Eastern Conference's top teams once again. So far this season, Butler is averaging 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.

After spending most of the 2018-19 season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Butler was moved to Miami as part of a sign-and-trade deal, and he signed a four-year contract.

Butler was the unquestioned go-to guy late in his tenure with the Chicago Bulls, but he seemingly had a power struggle of sorts with Karl-Anthony Towns as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves and often took a back seat to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons with the Sixers.

There was no question about Butler's role when the Heat acquired him, and he has lived up to his billing as the team's leader and biggest star.

Most of the NBA's top teams have multiple stars, and while center Bam Adebayo may reach that status for the Heat soon, there is little doubt that Butler is the top guy and the one who makes the team go.

Knowing that, Miami cannot afford to be without Butler for a significant amount of time, especially since there is a great deal of competition in the Eastern Conference standings from No. 1 to No. 6.

For as long as Butler is out, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will be forced to lean on several players to replace the production he brings to the table.

Guards Goran Dragic, Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro will all be leaned on more heavily to up their scoring and assist outputs, and improve upon the strong seasons they are already having.

The Heat will be without their best all-around player until Butler is out, but thanks to the depth they have accrued in recent years, they have a lot of quality pieces capable of banding together to make up for his loss.

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