The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2018-19 NBA season as one of the top three favorite NBA teams to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. After struggling earlier this season, the Sixers immediately made a move and upgraded their roster by trading for Jimmy Butler. The arrival of Butler, who is considered one of the best two-way players in the NBA, has undeniably improved the Sixers’ performance on both ends of the floor.
However, since Jimmy Butler joined the Sixers, drama started to circulate around Philadelphia. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are noticeably having a hard time adjusting with their game. With Butler on their roster, Simmons and Embiid’s roles on the offensive end have changed and they received fewer ball touches. After his previous dispute with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and how he currently affects Simmons and Embiid’s performance, a Western Conference executive who spoke to Bleacher Report thinks Butler gained the reputation in the league as the “young-player killer.”
Despite making him the No. 1 scoring option, Jimmy Butler recently challenged Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown on his role in the offense, according to Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Brown doesn’t seem to be worried about his heated exchange with Jimmy Butler, but some people who witnessed the altercation described it as “disrespectful” and beyond normal player-coach discourse. Another Western Conference executive believes that the Sixers should be concerned about the misunderstanding between Brown and Butler.
“The team should be concerned,” the Western Conference executive said. “Brett has been the voice the last few years, and now Jimmy is making a scene. It’s a problem.”
— David Murphy (@ByDavidMurphy) January 5, 2019
Since the blockbuster trade with the Timberwolves, there has already been a question regarding how will Jimmy Butler fit in Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown’s system. Brown’s job got tougher when they acquired Butler, as the Sixers are expecting him to at least bring the team to the Eastern Conference Finals. Aside from trying to figure out how to maximize the effectiveness of their three superstars, Brown should also find a way to make Butler happy in Philadelphia.
“It’s a great deal for Philly if they think they can rein Jimmy in,” an NBA agent told Bleacher Report. “Brett Brown is pretty good with personnel, pretty good with managing that stuff. But with Jimmy, don’t forget that dealing with people is not something he does well.”
Butler’s attitude has been a major concern since his time with the Chicago Bulls where he was seen having a dispute with coaches and teammates. If the Sixers can’t control Butler, his acquisition could do harm more than good to the “Process.” Butler may have verbally agreed to re-sign with the Sixers next summer, but lots of things can change between now and the 2019 NBA free agency.