76ers

Jimmy Butler responds to report he 'aggressively challenged' Brett Brown, Sixers' offense

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Jimmy Butler responds to report he 'aggressively challenged' Brett Brown, Sixers' offense

CAMDEN, N.J. — With his upper-respiratory infection gone and back practicing, Jimmy Butler finally got his chance to respond.

It’s been three days since a report surfaced that Jimmy Butler “aggressively challenged" Brett Brown and that the dialogue between the two was “disrespectful” during a film session in Portland.

Brown stated his case again Saturday that the report was “overrated” and normal dialogue between NBA player and NBA coach in 2019. Butler agreed.

We’ve been talking damn near every day. Trying to figure everything out and how we can make everyone work. Not just for myself but for everybody. I’m telling you it’s a player and a coach conversation. I think that if you’ve followed me long enough, you know if I was being confrontational because I don’t think I could hide it very well.

The report stated that a big point of contention was the Sixers' lack of pick-and-rolls, something Butler used much of in the past and has had success with. The Sixers use more dribble handoffs, something that Brown acknowledged Butler is not a huge fan of.

While Butler mentioned that he believed the issues to be more on the defensive end and more about critiquing himself, he did voice his opinion about his usage during the aforementioned film session.

I think what the whole thing was, I would say with me being here a lot of things are different. A lot of things that you used to run with the other personnel that was here — I’m a different player than [Robert Covington] and Dario [Saric]. That’s all I was saying, and then other guys had something else to say, but I think in the end it was a positive thing because everybody got what they needed to say out.

It’s not as if Butler and the team haven’t had success since his arrival. It’s been just 21 games and the team is 15-6 with the four-time All-Star in the lineup. Butler admitted that the team has been struggling to find consistency and that’s been a point of frustration.

Butler and Brown speak 1-on-1 "damn near every day," but Butler said he wouldn’t characterize any of the conversations he had with Brown as “confrontational.”

Butler wasn’t sure where the report came from and he didn’t seem to care. What he does know is how all this attention will stop: Winning.

To tell you the truth, I hope my teammates, the staff, organization — I hope they don’t pay attention it like I don’t pay attention to it. Obviously everybody wants to tell me about what’s going on. I can’t help what people think. I go back to what I always say: People are going to like me — great. People are going to dislike me — OK. I can’t control that. I can only control who I am, who I know I am, what the people around here think and know me to be and then try to be the best basketball player out there on the court … 

“I’m telling you, you’re all not going to be talking about that no more [with more wins]. We just got to keep winning. Win three, four, five in a row and y’all going to go, ‘Oh, we’re on a win streak now!’ Not going to worry about anything that happened in a film session.

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Tobias Harris keeps the Sixers entertained on their bus ride to Toronto

Tobias Harris keeps the Sixers entertained on their bus ride to Toronto

Around 10:30 p.m. Monday night, we were blessed with a Ben Simmons Instagram Live video of "DJ Tobi," Tobias Harris, on the Sixers’ bus from the airport to the hotel.

“There’s a soul plane and there’s a soul bus. You’re on the soul bus, ya dig?”

DJ Tobi then proceeded to interview all the players, coaches and team personnel who entered the bus, as you can see in the videos below, which do contain profanity. 

“State your name, where are you from and where are you going,” head coach Brett Brown said Tuesday morning, laughing about last night’s bus ride. “And when there is a lull, he's got Spotify hooked up, and he's got some hip hop going on.”

“DJ Tobi,” Matisse Thybulle laughed, struggling to find the words for Harris’ performance. “He was putting on a show for everyone. … It was funny because you were seeing people out of their comfort zone.”

With the rigors of an NBA season, and through all the travel, bus rides and plane rides, the value of that type of team bonding can go underestimated.

“It's team bonding,” Simmons told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We're a pretty close group. We like to have fun and there are a lot of different characters and personalities on the team. … It's awesome. But that's just who we are as a team, everyone just likes to have fun, everyone has good personalities and means well."

Of course, it’s easier when you’re winning, and the Sixers delivered one of their most impressive defensive performances of the year in their win over Brooklyn, led by Simmons and Thybulle.

“We could carry that good energy over,” Thybulle said of the win over the Nets. “But it definitely help to keeps things light because the travel gets tedious and boring.”

For the Brown, it’s yet another characteristic he’s seen blossom out of Harris.

“Leadership comes in all different forms … and he does it naturally,” Brown said.

“It’s what makes team sport, for me, as enjoyable as it gets, when you can win with people that you respect and trust that care. And this group does.”

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Jameer Nelson, Phil Martelli react to troubling Delonte West video

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Jameer Nelson, Phil Martelli react to troubling Delonte West video

Troubling video surfaced Monday on social media of former Saint Joseph’s great and NBA player Delonte West.

The 36-year-old appeared to get into a physical altercation and then was recorded spewing profanities with his hands behind his back. The video contains inappropriate language.

On Monday night, West’s former college teammate Jameer Nelson and head coach Phil Martelli voiced their concern and offered support.

West has opened up in the past about his battle with bipolar disorder and run-ins with the law. The most notable incident was when he was pulled over in Maryland on a three-wheeled motorcycle and subsequently arrested and charged with speeding and two counts of carrying a handgun.

When he was on Hawk Hill, West starred during his sophomore and junior seasons alongside Nelson. The duo led St. Joe’s on an incredible run in 2004. The Hawks were the No. 1 team in the country at one point and earned a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament. They lost in a thriller in the Elite 8 to two-seed Oklahoma State.

After choosing to forego his senior season, West was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 24th overall pick. He last played in the NBA with the Mavericks in 2012 and his professional career ended in 2015 after a brief stint in the G League.