The Philadelphia 76ers fans saw the latest addition to their squad this Friday night. Jimmy Butler made his debut against the Utah Jazz, and the boys from the City of Brotherly Love posted a win, 113-107.
Butler was exceptional with a team-high 28 points, shooting 12 of 15 from the field. The Jazzers just didn’t have what it takes to restrain the 4-time All-Star.
“We did what we were supposed to do,” he said, “It’s so fun to win, it’s so much more fun to play with these guys.”
But his contribution wasn’t just noticeable on the offensive side of the court. Butler was tremendous while stopping Donovan Mitchell, who did score 31 points, but with shooting three-pointers 1 of 11, and overall 13-for-35 from the field.
The biggest fear for all 76ers fans concerned the chemistry of the team. A huge part of them was worried that Butler might interrupt the development of this team.
And it really did look like that in the opening sequences, especially with Ben Simmons entirely without the rhythm. But as the game went one, the two got along just fine, and the decisive moment of this match is an ultimate proof that they can work together.
With 20.8 seconds before the end, and with Philly up two, 109-107, the home team had an in-bound situation. Simmons threw a fantastic lob pass over Joe Ingles, which fell right into the Butler’s arms. After the game, former Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls forward stated that Simmon’s vision is simply “unreal”.
“When your point guard looks at you, and gives you one of those [a nod], just be prepared for the ball to come.” No. 23 explained to the reporters, “He’s an incredible passer — his vision is unreal, and he knew it [the opportunity] was going to be there. I tip my hat to him.”
The young fella didn’t spare his kind words on Butler either.
“He knows how to play the game at a high level,” Simmons said. “His IQ is very high.
In the end, Simmons posted 10 points and 8 rebounds and assists apiece, contributing enormously in another crucial moment. With 58.7 seconds to go, he made a layup which gave the 109-107 lead to the hosts, and got and-one which he eventually missed.
There has been a lot of talking that the last season Rookie of the Year might be endangered after Butler’s addition. His offensive usage might be decreased, and definitely, he will spend more time on the floor without the ball in their hands.
That was even confirmed by 76ers head coach Brett Brown.
“I think out of anybody that’s going to experience the biggest adjustment it’s going to be him,” Brown said, “You have a high-usage guy coming in. J.J. (Redick) does his thing, and Joel does his thing. We’d all be quite naive to think there’s not a little bit of a vacuum that’s seemingly directed toward him.”
Simmons was open about this question and the 22-year old admitted that he struggled in some parts of this and the last game and that he couldn’t adjust well to the newly created circumstances.
“It’s been at times frustrating, just because you don’t know what the team wants, or needs from you,” Simmons said.
But he also added that he started to overcome that problem.
“This game I’ve felt a lot more comfortable, and know what coach wants from me.”
Also, it appears that Simmons and Butler know what to expect from each other now, and how to put their strength together and push Philadelphia towards the playoffs. And not just the playoffs.
Up next, the 76ers head for Charlotte to play against the Hornets, and after that, have six of their seven upcoming games at home. It is going to be a perfect opportunity for this team to improve the overall record which now stands 10-7. Simmons and the boys are perfect at Wells Fargo Center, with 8-0, and if they continue to perform like that in the next two weeks, this team will definitely move up from the 5th place on the East, where they find themselves now.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.