76ers

Jimmy Butler shines in his home debut ... and loves his new victory song

Jimmy Butler shines in his home debut ... and loves his new victory song

When the Sixers made the trade for Jimmy Butler, there were plenty of question marks surrounding the four-time All-Star.

In Friday night’s thrilling 113-107 win over the Jazz at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations), the fans couldn’t have cared less about any of that.

Butler was sensational, scoring 28 points on an incredibly efficient 12 of 15 from the field in his first game in front of his new home crowd. After a somewhat tentative debut in Orlando, Butler was much more assertive Friday.

I came out gunning, I can tell you that. Coach [Brett] Brown called me last night and was like, ‘Hey, I remember one time you were in this building and you scored 50 … do that,’ and I was like, ‘OK.’ Then when we got in the little walkthrough this morning, he was like, ‘Remember what I told you? … do that.’ I came out a little more aggressive.

There were concerns over Butler’s fit on and off the court. He looked just fine on the court against Utah. Aside from the 28 points, he dished out seven assists and played outstanding on-the-ball defense against Donovan Mitchell, holding the second-year guard to 13 of 35 from the field. 

The most impressive thing about Butler’s performance is that he did everything within the flow of the game and the offense. If anything, he could’ve been a little more aggressive — especially with Joel Embiid in foul trouble.

“I actually thought he could’ve, if he chose to, shot about seven or six more shots,” Brown said of Butler. “You know, we put him in some stuff and you could see, like he’s trying to walk that line of taking control and being proactive versus passing the ball and getting other people involved.”

There were rumors about locker-room issues in Butler’s two stops in Chicago and Minnesota. It’s obviously early in the process, but his teammates have said nothing but positive things about Butler so far. 

There even appears to be a little bromance forming between Butler and JJ Redick. During his brief time as a Sixer, Butler has really gravitated toward the veteran guard. One thing we know is that Butler isn't afraid to speak his mind and the two have been communicating an awful lot already.

"I think everybody knows when I say something to you, it’s never personal and if you want to win, you’re going to take that criticism," Butler said. "Same thing with me, if somebody says something to me. JJ was like, ‘Hey, don’t do that,’ and I was like, ‘You’re probably right, it was my fault.’ But everybody wants to win, so we take it in stride."

So far, Butler has earned the accolades of his coach and teammates. He also earned chants of “Jim-my But-ler” after a deflection. He then promptly hit a three to send the crowd to a fever pitch in the first few minutes.

The scene was surreal.

He loves his new home court … and his new victory song.

“You can for sure hear them,” Butler said of the chants. “I’ve always said this that ya’ll — or we — have some great fans and it’s definitely an advantage. And then ya’ll have one of the catchiest things in the whole ‘1-2-3-4-5 Sixers’ deal. When I was the away team, I was always singing it, so it’s still stuck in my head.”

The more he hears that song, the fewer question marks there will be.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Adam Silver explains why NBA won't make a decision on 2019-20 season in April

Adam Silver explains why NBA won't make a decision on 2019-20 season in April

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Monday night in a conversation with TNT’s Ernie Johnson that the league will make no decisions on the state of its season in the month of April.

The NBA season has been suspended since March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Throughout his discussion with Johnson, Silver emphasized that there are too many unknowns for it to be wise to take definitive action at this stage.

Shortly after Silver’s remarks, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reported the NBA was in the exploratory phase of assessing blood-testing devices for the coronavirus that could deliver results within 15 minutes. 

When we initially shut down … there was a notion of 30 days before there was any of the widespread view at that point that our country would, in essence, be entirely shut down over the next several weeks," Silver said. "And so the fact is, sitting here today, I know less, in a way, than I did then. Just as I listen to the public health experts and the people that are advising us, the virus is potentially moving faster than maybe we had thought at that point, and it therefore may peak earlier. What that means in terms of our ability to come back at some point in late spring or summer is still unknown to me. 

And essentially what I’ve told my folks over the past week is that we should just accept, at least for the month of April, we won’t be in a position to make any decisions. I don’t think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be. But at least I do know, I think just to settle everyone down a little, it doesn’t mean internally … that we aren’t looking at many different scenarios for restarting the season. But I think it honestly is just too early, given what’s happening right now, to be able to project or predict where we’ll be in a few weeks.

Silver was asked by Johnson if a resumed season would pick up in the playoffs, with the remaining regular-season games canceled. If the season had continued as normal, the final regular-season games would have taken place on Sunday. 

“Honestly, we haven’t made any decisions,” he said. “In a perfect world, yes, we would try to finish the regular season in some form and then move on to the playoffs. … What I’ve learned over the last few weeks is we just have too little information to make those sort of projections.” 

He touched on a few of the reported options on the table for the league, including a postseason at a single site such as Las Vegas, and indicated the NBA has indeed considered several of those possibilities.

“There’s been a lot of conjecture about various cities and places that might hold a tournament,” Silver said. “Again, we’re in listening mode right now. We’ve been contacted by many of those jurisdictions [about] what our level of interest is and we’ve talked to them about what their capabilities are. But once again, there’s too much unknown right now.” 

Silver also addressed how the NBA might change in future seasons. He indicated arenas may need to institute physical distancing policies. 

“I’m hoping, at least, that those are short-term issues where we might have to put in effect some sort of social distancing when people first come back to arenas,” he said. “I think a lot of that is specific to this virus and when there might be a vaccine, and if there’s an interim period, even when we’re back to work, where there’s not a vaccine yet — there’s concern about a second wave, what will we need to do?

"But I also have tremendous belief in this country. What’s amazing about Americans not only is their resilience, but the spirit of innovation. … I think we’re going to see a new approach to a lot of these problems.”

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Ben Simmons not-so-subtly hinted at a Sixers trade target over the weekend

Ben Simmons not-so-subtly hinted at a Sixers trade target over the weekend

We've reached the second calendar month of the NBA's hiatus, and Sixers star Ben Simmons is still chatting basketball while streaming his Call of Duty matches on Twitch.

In March, Simmons talked about his views on the best defenders in the league - a list, I'll note, which should include Simmons himself. Over the first weekend of April, Simmons was reading the chat on his stream when he decided to choose a very... interesting comment to read aloud:

Hmm. 

I wonder why Simmons decided to read that comment, out of the hundreds he sees during a stream, and then remind us that he's just reading the comments.

At least one commenter in the chat called out "tampering!", but it's not tampering if you're just reading ideas from other people!

In reality, of course, this is just Simmons joking around with the basketball world. He knows fans (and writers) are glued to things like Twitch streams and Instagram feeds without actual basketball to talk about, so he peppered in a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge joke for us to get fired up about.

Still, it makes you wonder...

Booker would probably be a great fit on today's Sixers team. He's a two-guard who can shoot from anywhere on the floor and create his own shot at will, and he's played point guard in the past, which would help keep the offense running when Simmons checks out. Booker's defense being an afterthought isn't much a problem, considering the Sixers are loaded with great defenders.

The real problem for the Sixers would be acquiring, and affording, Booker. He's in the first year of a five-year max contract with the Suns, so waiting for his contract to end isn't viable. And his deal brings a cap hit of $27 million this year, and climbs each year, all the way up to $36 million by the last year of his contract in 2023-24, when Joel Embiid turns 30.

If the Sixers were somehow able to convince the Suns to take one of Al Horford or Tobias Harris off their hands in exchange for Booker - along with other valuable assets headed to Phoenix, of course - it might be possible to balance a payroll with minimum contract players and young, affordable talent around a core of Embiid, Simmons, and Booker.

But I can't imagine the Suns would jettison their only superstar, who is somehow still just 23 years old, unless they decide to blow it up in the next year or two. So instead we're left dreaming, and making trades in NBA 2K20, and waiting for Simmons' next dispatch.

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers