Jimmy Butler To Philly

Per Shams, the Philadelphia 76ers have traded for All-Star Jimmy Butler from Minnesota for Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 2nd round pick; Timberwolves backup center Justin Patton is also going to Philly.

Fitting in a new player into an establishment system is like fitting a square peg into a round hole, either you’re the one who has to adapt your strategy or the player does. This has to be sorted out quick before an uneasiness settles in. To fit in a superstar player mid-season is almost a impossible task. The best example of mid-season integration of an All-Star is Rasheed Wallace in 2004. Besides that, their are dozens of failures. Carmelo, 2011 comes to mind. Anthony is very similar to Butler, except in his prime Anthony spaced the floor, whereas Butler’s bread and butter is his mid-ranger and getting to the cup.

Both are rigid and tough to get through. I’m very optimistic Butler will conform and play the game Brett Brown wants to play. Of course, it’ll be a give and take system. What’ll change? Well, that’s yet to be seen. But it’s safe to say we’ve seen the last of Markelle Fultz in the starting lineup. The Sixers are in full fledged “win-now” mode. This is their core, they’ll have to watch the waiver wire to improve their roster – which still lacks considerable depth. More-so now that Dario Saric and Robert Covington are moving to Minneapolis.

As an NBA fan, this excites me. This is a great test of Brown’s basketball acumen. He’s shown great patience with Fultz, and isn’t afraid to rest Joel Embiid even as the Sixers cannot create anything without him – much like the Celtics with Al Horford. He willfully dismantled the second best lineup in basketball last season, J.J/RobCo/Simmons/Dario/Embiid averaged a plus – 21 net rating. Now two of those players are gone, never to return. The Sixers May have attained an All-Star in Butler, but lose two valuable role-players and have even less depth than ever.

Philly’s offensive rating drops to 103.3 from 114.4 when Embiid is on the floor, versus him off. As for his running mate Simmons, when facing better prepared teams that can exploit his weaknesses, the Sixers are better when T.J McConnell runs the offense. The lack of shooting on the Sixers leads Simmons to having an underwhelming impact on the Sixers. The Sixers have been better when Simmons is off the floor offensively, sporting a 116.5 ORtg without him, versus 107.6 with him on. This potentially will add another dimension to the Sixers wishy washy offense, or just make them more predictable.

And this’ll be a great referendum whether Butler was right to stick his chest out and act like he was on LeBron and Durant’s level these last couple of weeks. Whether it’s the toxic situation he helped create, the Timberwolves have been been better when Butler is nowhere the team. The Timberwolves team offensive rating goes up 6.0 notches without him. For a B-plus talent, Butler is absolutely worth the risk Philly is taking. The Covington/Dario duo wasn’t going to get the Sixers past Indiana, Milwaukee, Toronto and even the struggling Celtics.

Brown will eventually have to turn away from Fultz in the starting lineup, give the number 1 pick the full Keith Bogans (start each half, don’t play beyond those two points of the game) and rely on T.J McConnell to pick up the slack. The 26-year-old saw a reduction in his role from last season, falling from 22.4 minutes a game to 12.7. That’s going to need to change and fast. T.J better fits this team and what it needs to be given the circumstances than Fultz.

Minnesota, on the other hand, are at the end of their rope. Thibs held out for a trade that’ll mend the dysfunction in the clubhouse and protect his job security and Minnesota’s playoff aspirations in the short term. Neither of that seems to have become realized. Covington is an All-NBA Defense caliber talent, but he’s trading the Marvin Williams, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Thaddeus Young glut of wings for Durant, LeBron, Klay, Damien and McCollum, and Doncic (yeah, I put him there, so what?!).

Expect the other shoe to drop real soon. Thibs can’t keep this charade up any longer, the Wolves just lost 5-straight and could lose another more despite five of their next six games are home.

I feel for the Timberwolves fans. I’m excited for the Sixers; absolutely loath their fans smugness as if the whole world’s always doubted them. But hey, being an asshole is  what this game is all about.

Author: sailboatstudios

Hack. Amateur. Professional quitter.

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