To say that Miami Heat All-Star forward Jimmy Butler was unhappy with his team following their 119-111 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night would be an understatement. The loss was the third straight for the Heat, who currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, and afterward, Butler ripped into his team for what he deemed as a "soft" effort.
"It's not frustrating because we do it so often," Butler said, via ESPN. "It's almost like it's expected, in a bad way to put it. We just think we're such a good team, and then reality hits us, we're humbled. And I'm glad, because that's what this game does for you. Home, away, no matter what opponent you're playing against, you just stroll into the game thinking you're nice, you're good. This is what happens. I'm glad it happened to us. And if we don't fix it, I hope it continues to happen to us."
"We're just being soft. That's it," Butler added. "Not getting into bodies, scared of some contact. Soft overall."
For Butler, one of the more alarming aspects of his team's play this season is inconsistency. One night the Heat could look like a legitimate contender, and the next night they look like a team that deserves a lottery landing.
"Hell, if we want to go out there and guard somebody, and if we want to box out and rebound, it could be good," Butler said, via The Sun-Sentinel. "If we don't want to do that, and if we want to do what we've been doing for these past couple of games, we'll be bad. I don't know. It's on us to figure it out. I can't tell you which way we're going to go. I don't know what team is going to show up on any given night."
While Butler called out the team as a whole, he also didn't shy away from naming players individually as he made it abundantly clear that he wants to see more aggression from center Bam Adebayo.
"I want Bam to attack the rim because nobody can stay in front of him," Butler said. "Nobody can stay in front of him. Go. You're going to get fouled or you're going to dunk on somebody. That's cool. I love him shooting midrange jump shots too, but he lets people off the hook. Play bully ball. I like bully ball."
After making it all the way to the NBA Finals last season, the Heat have had an extremely underwhelming follow-up campaign. Sure, they've dealt with health issues, but so has almost every other team in the league, and for a franchise that prides itself on its culture, that's certainly not an acceptable excuse. They simply need to be better moving forward if they want this season to be anything but a forgettable one for the organization.