ESPN analyst and former NBA big man Kendrick Perkins does not have much confidence in the Miami Heat in the 2023-24 season.
Perkins does not believe that the Heat will make it out of the first round of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference this season. The big man went on to compare Jimmy Butler and Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, pointing out one area where Butler has fallen short.
Kendrick Perkins on the chances Heat make the Finals again because Chiefs won
“The Heat are not gonna sneek up on anyone and the Heat does not have a Patrick Mahomes. I don’t see the Heat getting passed the first round of the eastern conference.”
— 𝘼𝙇𝙙𝙤𝙣𝙞𝙨 ™ (@AIR305) February 12, 2024
“The Heat are not gonna sneak up on anyone,” Perkins said. “And the Heat does not have a Patrick Mahomes.
“I get it. Jimmy Butler – playoff Jimmy – is a real thing, but it’s not Patrick Mahomes. Patrick Mahomes is the guy that can take any given player, put in any given circumstances and bring them home. Jimmy, he has fallen short every single time he’s reached the NBA Finals. And I don’t see the Heat getting past the first round in the Eastern Conference this season.”
Mahomes led the Chiefs to their third Super Bowl win in his career on Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers. While the Heat may think that Butler can lead them to an NBA Finals victory, Perkins clearly isn’t sold.
However, the Heat have heard this tune before.
Miami earned the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference last season. The team became just the second NBA team in history to make the NBA Finals as a No. 8 seed.
Butler was a massive reason why, especially in the Heat’s first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Against Milwaukee, Butler scored 35 points in Game 1 to lead the Heat to an upset victory. He followed that up with two more elite performances in Game 4 and and Game 5 of that series to close things out.
In Game 4, Butler scored 56 points, hitting 19 of his 28 shots from the field. He then turned in a huge Game 5, scoring 42 points in Milwaukee to clinch the series. Miami shocked the NBA by winning the series, especially since guard Tyler Herro went down with an injury in Game 1.
For the entire playoffs, Butler averaged 26.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game across 22 contests. He shot 46.8 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from 3-point range.
So far, Butler has led the Heat to the NBA Finals two times since joining the team prior to the 2019-20 season. The team has also made it to the Eastern Conference Finals three times.
Perkins may be counting the Heat out, but the team has proven in the past it has what it takes to make a deep postseason run.
Right now, the Heat hold the No. 8 seed in the East with a 28-25 record and are just 1.5 games back of the No. 6-seeded Indiana Pacers. They would need to finish with a top-six seed in the East to avoid the play-in tournament.