When the Philadelphia 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler they thought they had the star wing player they desperately needed. They are 10-3 with Butler ever since the trade. They have seemed to solidify themselves as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Joel Embiid has come out to the media saying that everything is not so well with Butler in the lineup. He says that his new role in the lineup has him frustrated. To create space for Butler, the Sixers have Embiid playing more on the perimeter when he likes to start off down low. Even though this may be true, Butler has helped the Sixers more than he has hurt them. We take a look at Butler’s impact on the roster 13 games in.
Jimmy Butler’s Impact Quickly Felt On Philadelphia 76ers
Jimmy Butler the Shot Creator
In the series against the Boston Celtics, last year the Sixers glaring weakness came to light. There was nobody on the team that could create their own shot on the wing.
Butler is shooting 47.1 percent from 10 to less than 16 ft and only 12.5 percent of those shots are assisted. Butler is good at backing down the defender and creating enough space on the fadeaway to make the shot. In tough playoff games where baskets are scarce, they will need Butler and his shot-creating ability.
Also, there was nobody that could lock down the best wing player on the opposing team. When you look at Butler he can do both things extremely well.
The Sixers needed a player like Butler for those tough Eastern Conference games against the top teams in the East and now they have him. They have a player besides Embiid that can score anywhere on the floor. Butler is also one of the top defenders in the league.
In his past two games, he has scored 38 points in both contests. The Sixers lost to the Toronto Raptors, but they have a wing that can go blow for blow with Kawhi Leonard on both offense and defense. It will be interesting when they face the Celtics to see how much the defense has improved with Butler in the lineup.
How Butler Fits With The Sixers
While it is clear to see how Embiid would have a problem with starting out on the perimeter and playing a stretch-five role more, Butler has to have room to operate also.
While watching Sixers games, you notice that Butler does not like to start right out of the gate scoring the ball. He likes to defer. In fact, the first quarter is when Butler has his least field goal attempts at 77. Then in the second quarter, he has 94 attempts. In the third, he has 79 attempts. Finally, in the fourth, he has 94 attempts. The Sixers can use the first quarter to get Embiid the touches that he needs in the post.
Embiid is one of the most used players in the league. He is fourth in usage percentage at 31.1. He will get his touches but he will have to get them where he is comfortable.
Butler will have to be the closer. That is where he has already proven to be a blessing for the Sixers. Against the Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 17 he hit the game-winning three-pointer. He stole the game from Kemba Walker (who scored 60 points) and the Hornets.
Then in a one-sided game where it seemed the Brooklyn Nets were going to beat the Sixers, Butler stole that game on another game-winning three-point shot.
Both of those shots were shots that were created by Butler also to add. He is one of the most clutch players in the NBA and he will have to be the finisher for the Sixers.
With Butler on the roster, the Sixers are one of the best teams in the East and one of the favorites to reach the Finals. They need a sixth man as they are only 22nd in the league in bench scoring with 34.3, but this team is on the track to be great.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 21: Jimmy Butler of the United States looks on during the final match of the Men’s basketball between Serbia and United States on day 16 at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)