ORLANDO, Fla. – After almost two months of speculation about his future destination, Philadelphia 76er’s guard Jimmy Butler will play his first game for his new team on the road to magic on Wednesday night.
Butler’s arrival, as well as the departures from both Robert Covington and Dario Saric in the trade that brought him to Philadelphia from Minnesota Timberwolves, led to another question: What would Brett Brown do with his starting lineup?
The hope was that Sixers would start Ben Simmons, Butler and Joel Embiid with JJ Redick and Wilson Chandler ̵
1; suspicions all but confirmed at the end of the shootaround when the five players were running through sets together. A short while later, Brown said that it was actually his starting line, meaning Markelle Fultz, last year’s number 1 pickup, now officially coming from the bench.
Markelle Fultz’s playing time can be affected by the arrival of Jimmy Butler, 76’s GM Elton Brand says trading to acquire four-time All-Star does not reflect a loss of faith at Fultz.
Jimmy Butler, acquired from Minnesota Timberwolves in a trade ended Monday, was introduced by Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. Butler said that “everything will fall into place” with his new team.
“He is great,” said Brown of Fultz. “He is good. He understands, and we can not say enough, [Sixers general manager Elton Brand] said this … He has so many people in this program who really care about him. He is one of the group’s favorites. Just see how they replied.
“Everyone wants Markelle Fultz to do well. We understand that he is 20 years old and has come up with a huge amount of expectations. We’ll get it all. But I think Markelle Fultz has been surrounded by isolation, friends and family, and my assessment is that he is good at it.
“He has done something wrong. He has done something wrong.”
Butler says that despite his attention given to what his next move would be, his focus never focussed.
“I was always just focused on hoops,” Butler said after Sixers finished the sniper at a suburb of Orlando High School. “It’s always fun when I’m going to race.”
“Not too many things go through my mind when I’m out here between these lines. All I want to do is compete and help my team win.”
“Now I have jobs to do.”
That this job is to try to make good on the hopes Sixers have to turn this team into one who can potentially reach the NBA final as soon as June. The addition of Butler to the blend gives Philadelphia a talent base with three of the NBA’s 20 The best players – Butler, Simmons and Embiid. Golden State Warriors is the only other team capable of boasting so many.
In the case of Fultz, his shot problems, including his double-throwing throw on Monday night in Miami, move him to the bench in favor of Redick, one of NBA’s elite shooters, a simple conversation. While Brown and others have cited their improved defense, and his number has been better to play without Simmons (and therefore the ball is in his hands more), one has already make some compromise from a distance with Simmons, Butler and Embiid who play together simply did not need another ball-winning, non-shooter out there with them.
Instead, Fultz will now serve as Simmon’s primary backup, likely to be somewhere within the range of 10-15 minutes per night. He said nothing changes to him, whether he starts or plays in a spare part.
“My attitude as soon as I go to the realms is to help my team win,” said Fultz. “Every time I go to court every time I enter the game, my goal is to be a good teammate and help my team get W.
” I mean, I do not know how I can continue to say that. Every time I go to court, my goal is to play hard, and the more time I get out there the more time I will go hard. I only see competing and winning winning games. “
A dramatic mid-season add-on like this comes with complications. Butler does not know the team’s terminology. He does not know about his games or how complicated his new teammates are fit in the court.
” Just being around the guys, getting to know they are a bit confused by some games, “but Butler said what he was out of the shooter.” But besides that, basketball is basketball. “
To try to help Butler’s adaptation, Brown tried to keep things simple for his new star, limiting the installation of gigs to possible options for Philadelphia to use if Wednesday’s game is close to the last minutes.
” Just try to be good at not too much, “said Brown.” If it’s a close game tonight, what are two or two things we’ll do to play out of that environment? And expect it to be dropped for a long time where he feels comfortable on both sides of the ball.
“But today, it’s about picking things in nearby situations and saying,” This is what we are looking for. & # 39; In that environment he picks up things quickly. It is obvious that he has been doing it for a long time. “
Sixers will now hope Butler does a lot of winning games for them. The four-hour All-Star and Two-time All-NBA selection represents the big fish that Philadelphia tried – and failed – to land in a free agency The last two summers and the one who decidedly could not
So instead, Sixers went all-in to Butler now and added one of the league champions two-winger to a roster who already had one of his best punters in Simmons and one of his best centers in Embiid. Philadelphia will now hope Butler meshes better with them than he did in Minnesota with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
“I love basketball,” he said. My energy comes from. I love to compete. I love to show that I can help a team win that I’m one of the really good players in the league. That’s where my energy comes from. Going out and competing and playing hard. another will count out himself. “