Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler wasn’t ready to hit the panic button Wednesday after the reigning Eastern Conference champions sunk to 1-4 with a loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
“I think it’s still a work in progress,” Butler said while assessing his team’s early-season struggles, via ClutchPoint’s Zachary Weinberger. “Last year was last year, it’s completely different this year in a number of ways. And we will figure it out.
“(We) gotta get better – there’s no excuses for any of that – and we will. I’m still very confident in this group, I really am. I know what we’re capable of and I know that we can win, so we just gotta go out there and we gotta do what we’re supposed to do.”
The Heat got off to a similarly slow start in 2022-23 and struggled for much of the regular season. They reached the playoffs as the No. 8 seed through the play-in tournament before making a run to the NBA Finals.
Miami was expected to be a major player in the offseason but ultimately stayed quiet. The Heat lost key contributors Max Strus and Gabe Vincent and signed Josh Richardson and center Thomas Bryant to fill their spots. So far, though, neither addition has provided much scoring for a squad that ranks 27th in points per game.
Butler, for his part, is averaging 16.5 points, down from the 22.9 he put up last year. The 34-year-old has battled right knee problems out of the gate. He scored 20 points in 34 minutes of action against the Nets, who erased a 16-point deficit to hand the Heat their fourth loss in five games.
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