A new era of Philadelphia 76ers basketball officially began on Tuesday as the team introduced both Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton to the media at their practice facility in Camden, N.J.
Butler, who is a four-time All-star, had a strong desire to leave Minnesota and made it clear that he wanted to play somewhere else this season. Well, somewhere else landed the star two-way guard in Philadelphia with a Sixers team that is coming off of a 52-win season and a first-round playoff series win.
Butler explained his excitement to be apart of the Sixers organization and is looking forward to playing with his new teammates.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “Obviously, the potential here with Ben [Simmons] and Jo [Embiid] and all the other guys on the roster, I think we can be really good.”
With the addition of Butler, the Sixers finally have their own big 3, which will give opposing teams issues on a nightly basis.
Embiid, who is an MVP candidate, can do damage inside the paint and on the perimeter. Simmons, however, can drive to the basket with the best of them, and Butler is an offensive threat all over the court.
This season, Butler is averaging 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 36.1 minutes per game. The 29-year-old is also shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from three-point range on 4.5 attempts per game.
With all that being said, GM Elton Brand believes that the Sixers’ championship window is open.
“I made this move because I believe it’s what best for our team,” said the new Sixers general manager. “We have a championship window, and it’s important that we do whatever it takes to capitalize on it.”
Brand added, “It was important to us to go get a superstar, to go get some young talent to help make that next step in achieving a championship.”
In regards to a championship, it is something that Butler desperately craves and you could see in his eyes on Tuesday that he wants to win one soon.
“I think that’s the reason why everybody plays this game is to win a championship,” he said.
“I mean MVPs are great, scoring titles are great, defensive players of the year are great, Butler explained. “But that trophy, getting that ring, and knowing for that point and time you’re the best team in the world, that’s special.”
If Butler does decide to re-up to a longer-term deal with the Sixers after this season, he will hopefully have multiple opportunities to chase that elusive championship.
“All I ever wanted to do is win in any and every level,” he said. “I have a new opportunity to do that here and that’s the goal. That will always be the goal.”