76ers

Jimmy Butler Q&A part 2: Loving minivans, understanding Joel Embiid and annoying NBA rules

Jimmy Butler Q&A part 2: Loving minivans, understanding Joel Embiid and annoying NBA rules

In Part 1 of my chat with Sixers guard Jimmy Butler, we talked about his love of Philly fans, the city's history, his pet peeves, taking game-winning shots and much more.

Here's Part 2 with some great questions from Twitter featuring Joel Embiid, books, villains and the explanation behind the minivan.

Twitter question: Who had to drive the minivan from Minneapolis to Philadelphia? And why a minivan?

JB: I got it shipped. It’s real incognito, one. Two, it has a lot of space, but I think that the fact that I watch a lot of film in there in the back is what really did it for me. That’s what really did it for me, and we get to save a little bit on gas. But all in all, its because I get to have everyone in that bad baby, and laugh. That’s my baby.

Serena Winters: What would the name of your autobiography be? 

JB: The Jimmy Butler story, something about how the love turns to hate so quickly. I love that, that one day somebody can like you and the next day, don’t. I think that’s the world for you, and I think that’s why I admire the people that I admire because one day they like you and the next day they don’t, and I’m a fan of that. 

SW: If you could play dominoes with anyone, and at the same time pick their brain, who would it be? 

JB: Harvey Dent.

SW: Favorite book? 

JB: I really enjoyed and I just finished reading, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F--k." I’m telling you, that book is incredible. Right now, I am working on "Ego Is the Enemy," which is another really good one, and after that, the follow up to Ego is "The Obstacle Is the Way." I’ve got a lot of good books. 

Twitter question: Can you understand what Jo says yet?

JB: Yeah. "Give me the [expletive] ball." "He can’t [expletive] guard me."

*laughs*

I get it!

SW: Favorite quote or saying right now? 

JB: "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

SW: One NBA rule you’d want to change?

JB: The whole reviewing of goaltending. I think you’ve got to be able to review every goaltending call, because when you come down to it, I think the game is made by putting the ball into the basket. So, if something is that close and every basket is supposed to be that much more important, games are coming down to one or two possessions now. If you look at every goaltending and say, ‘aww that wasn’t goaltending’ and give them the two points, games would turn out differently. 

Twitter question: Comments that bother NBA players the most? 

JB: It's different for everyone but I don’t like the word soft. Soft is one of them, I tell you one word that you can never use to describe me is soft. 

Twitter question: Inspiration for your hair? And how do you maintain it?

JB: I don’t do too much to it, as you can tell. Long story short, whenever I was little, everyone used to have the 360 waves and all of that, and I wasn’t one for all of that, so I was like, "man, when I get some type of fame, I just have to do something crazy with my crazy ass hair and I just let it grow," and then before you know it, a lot of people wanted to do it.

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There are positive signs, but still glaring issues with Sixers

There are positive signs, but still glaring issues with Sixers

After dropping their second straight game in overtime Friday night in Oklahoma City (see observations), the Sixers at times sounded like a team looking for answers.

More of that is likely struggling to answer questions coming off another brutal loss. They have an idea why they’ve lost five of their last seven after starting their season 5-0. A large part of it is a group with a bunch of new faces that are still figuring each other out. On Friday, fouls were an issue as they allowed the Thunder to attempt 41 free throws.

For a team that has championship aspirations and got off to such a hot start, this isn’t where they expected to be 12 games into the season.

“Obviously we're frustrated,” Tobias Harris said to reporters postgame. “7-5 is not where we want to be. It's early in the season and right now we're going to progress and get better and figure out ways that we can help each other and help our team and go from there. This game is over. Tomorrow, we'll watch film on it, we'll find out which ways that we can better ourselves and be ready for the next game. [We’re] 7-5 right now but ... we'll just go into the next game and be ready to get that win and go from there.”

There are reasons for optimism — with Harris being arguably the biggest.

After missing 23 straight threes and looking lost recently, Harris splashed his first trey of the game and looked like a totally different player. He finished with 21 points on 8 of 16 from the field and 3 of 4 from three. He was much more aggressive and decisive than he’d been in the previous two games.

Josh Richardson, returning to his native Oklahoma, has continued to show signs of improvement. He poured in 28 points, his highest total as a Sixer. More importantly, he’s looked much more comfortable in the offense as he figures out his role.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons both had their moments. Embiid had a game-high 31 points and Simmons broke out after a quiet first half to play the entire second half.

One of the team’s biggest issues is figuring out the pairing of Embiid and Al Horford. The reality is Horford has never played with a center like Embiid who demands the ball and attention offensively. It’s been an obvious adjustment for Horford, who shot just 5 of 12 Friday and has done most of his damage with Embiid off the floor.

The uncomfortable offensive fit for the entire starting five has been a big reason the Sixers have been involved in so many close games. A familiar theme emerged Friday, as the Sixers held a nine-point advantage with 7:20 to go in the game. Instead of hitting the gas and putting the Thunder away, they gave up a 12-2 run and saw their lead evaporate.

These are talented players that have won in different places. They’re still learning how to win together.

“I was just telling Al about that,” Harris said, “and really it's just I think a matter of right now we are yet to be up like eight points and push that to 15 and really push what we're doing and move forward with that, and really imposing our will and dominating. And that's something that we have to get to and that's something I think we're still learning — how we can do that and how we can make those type of runs. That's something we definitely got to get better at.”

The good news is you see the talent and recognize some of the issues.

And Brett Brown has 70 games to figure it out.

“If you're sick and you don't know why, that's a problem,” Brown said. “We are in a tough spot right now, but it's a long year. I think that it doesn't take much for me to understand where we have to get better. And it's really that simple. If you're scratching your head, sort of confused, then I think we got some problems and that's not what I'm doing. I think the guys understand the areas that matter most that can best impact changing the way things are going and get back on the winning side.”

They know the problems, now they just have to answer the questions.

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Sixers Talk podcast: What went wrong in OKC?

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NBCSP/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: What went wrong in OKC?

Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss Brett Brown's decision to have Furkan Korkmaz play key minutes in overtime, using more pick-and-rolls with Joel Embiid, and the loss to the Thunder.

• Should Brown have gone to Korkmaz when Tobias Harris fouled out in overtime?

• Do the Sixers need to rework their offense?

• The starting lineup looked good at times, but what went wrong in OKC?

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