After 10 games in his new home with the Philadelphia 76ers, here’s a look at the some of the most notable changes in the game of Jimmy Butler.
Following his acrimonious departure from the Minnesota Timberwolves, it was only natural that basketball onlookers would be closely monitoring Jimmy Butler in his new surroundings with the Philadelphia 76ers.
From a team perspective, things have gone incredibly smoothly, with the Sixers recording an 8-2 record since Butler’s arrival, seeing them currently sitting in third spot on the Eastern Conference standings. More importantly, Butler’s own transition has been highly impressive.
Not only has he already nailed two last-second, game-winning shots, but it’s been his overall demeanor and embracing of the Sixers’ way of life that has stood out most. Despite being the main man with both the Timberwolves and the Chicago Bulls, Butler has made a seamless adjustment to his new environment, as he described recently:
“I don’t care how many points I score, how many shots I shoot. I’ve always been like that. I always will continue to be that way. Just win at all cost….I’m all for winning. I’m not worried about being an All-Star. I’m not worried about that, any of that stuff. I think winning takes care of everything. Winning helps everybody look great.”
With center Joel Embiid in genuine MVP contention, and reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons again flourishing since Butler’s arrival, it’s easy to overlook just how much of a sacrifice Butler has made since landing with the Sixers.
In his 10 games this season with the Timberwolves, Butler averaged 21.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 36.1 minutes per game. With the Sixers thus far, these numbers have dropped to 18.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 32.8 minutes per game, his lowest playing time since the 2012-13 season, which was his second year in the league.
However, it’s not the drop in playing time that has stood out the most in terms of Butler’s adjustment to his new team. With Simmons running the point and Embiid being a monster down low, Butler has had to noticeably modify the way in which he has been accustomed to playing in recent seasons.
By way of comparisons, here are the numbers of some major over his 10 games this season with the Timberwolves and the past 10 with the Sixers:
- Touches per game: 45.5 (63.4 per game with Timberwolves)
- Time of possession: 2.0 minutes per game (4.3 per game)
- Field goals made assisted by a teammate: 69.2 percent (37.8 percent)
Despite these sacrifices, that hasn’t stopped Butler from putting forth his best efforts on the defensive end of the floor. Since his arrival, Butler has ranked equal third in the league with 4.1 deflections per game, while also accumulating an additional 2.0 steals per game, which ranks sixth overall during this span.
A four-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second team, this comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed the 29-year-old throughout his career.
Granted, it’s only a 10-game sample size, and nothing is certain with Butler and the Sixers moving forward.
However, it’s fair to say that everyone from the Sixers’ front office to fans alike would be ecstatic with the manner in which Jimmy Butler has performed during his time as a Sixer.