Jimmy Butler Says Heat Not Where They Want to Be, but 'It'll Happen'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Although many would consider the Miami Heat to be overachieving, a 35-19 record heading into the All-Star break apparently doesn't meet the standards of Jimmy Butler.

"We're not a bad team, but we're not where we want to be at, just yet," he said, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman. "That's OK. I think moving forward we just continue to get better and figure out a way to win games, especially on the road. It'll happen."

The Heat clearly have big ambitions for the present. They signaled their goal for this season with the acquisition of Butler last summer and their moves around the trade deadline.

Miami landed Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill from the Memphis Grizzlies. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported the team also attempted to get Danilo Gallinari but were unable to reach an agreement on an extension with Gallinari, who will be an unrestricted free agent.

Catching the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks will be next to impossible for the Heat, who are 11 games back in fourth place. Based on how well it has played, though, Miami will be a nightmare to face in a seven-game playoff series.

In the years after LeBron James left, team president Pat Riley struggled to put together a roster capable of making a deep postseason run. Dwyane Wade was aging and signed with the Chicago Bulls in 2016, and Chris Bosh's career ended abruptly in 2017 for health reasons.

But Erik Spoelstra continued to get the most out of what were flawed squads, never more so than in 2017-18 when the Heat won 44 games and finished sixth in the East.

Butler's arrival allowed Miami to aim higher, and young players such as Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn are raising the team's ceiling.

As evidenced by Butler's comments, simply getting into the playoffs is no longer the bar for success.

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