On the surface, Jimmy Butler seems to be proving that he really does just care about winning. Whether that leads to the talented guard staying with the Philadelphia 76ers beyond this season will be the big question. After another fairly quiet game against the Orlando Magic (for three and a half quarters), Butler addressed his role and didn’t seem to have much of an issue.
As Andrew Porter of 94WIP.com revealed, Butler said he’s “cool” with his role on the Sixers, who have a loaded starting group since the trade which brought Tobias Harris to town.
The key here is that the Sixers won their game against the Magic on Tuesday. During the 114-106 victory, Butler logged 34 minutes while scoring 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting with four assists, three steals, and two rebounds. Overall, it wasn’t the type of night many expect to consistently see from Butler, who also attempted just one shot from beyond the arc.
But what Butler did in the fourth quarter stood out, as he essentially took over down the stretch.
Jimmy Butler’s Final Stretch vs. Magic
When the 29-year-old guard entered the game with 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Sixers held a 101-97 lead. Over the final three minutes of the game when their lead was cut down to two, Butler made a jumper, had a steal, hit another jump shot, had an assist, and made two free throws to seal the deal.
It was an impressive final stretch for Butler, who’s essentially become the team’s closer for the most part. He’s been fairly consistent when it comes to getting late baskets or making key defensive plays. Although the Sixers don’t have Joel Embiid currently due to a knee injury, Butler’s accepted whatever role he’s been asked to take.
And when the playoffs come around, Butler’s ability to adapt and change his game based on what the team needs could pay off in a big way.
Butler’s Numbers With Sixers
Even before the Sixers brought Harris to town in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, Butler had taken a backseat offensively at times. Through the first 42 games with the Sixers, he’s averaged 18.5 points on 47.3 percent shooting along with 5.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
Although Butler has made an impact on both ends at times, these marks are still the lowest he’s posted in most categories since the 2013-14 season. In each year from that point, Butler has averaged 20 points or better, but he’s also attempting roughly two shots less per game with the Sixers than he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves over the past two seasons.
But the most important stat for both Butler and the Sixers seems to be the fact that they now hold a 41-23 record and are just a half game back of the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.