By Art Beitchman
As the Sixers’ regular season dwindles to single digits, it’s becoming clear that guard/forward Jimmy Butler’s role has been defined more as a leader of the starting five, one of the most potent in the Association currently.
Since coming over in a trade with the T’Wolves last November, Butler has done a little bit of this, a little bit of that — defending, last shot go to guy.
But in the last few games he has become their clear second option to Joel Embiid with raving success!
With a very talented first unit, roles needed to get more settled.
And with the ball in Butler’s hands come crunch time, the Sixers have a steady ball handler who can distribute, drive it to the rack and hit key free throws when he eventually gets sent to the line with the game hanging in the balance.
Check, check, and check on all the last four games, victories over Pacers, Kings, Bucks and Hornets that solidify the Sixers’ hold on the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
On sharing center stage with Butler, Joel Embiid simply has stated “Jimmy’s been great”. Proof of the potent 1-2 punch in the huge win a Milwaukee was the 130 points scored, with Embiid dropping 40, Butler 27 in a win that alerted the whole rest of the league the Sixers are jelling perfectly at the right time just 3 weeks before the start of post season play.
Better yet, this current group has less than 10 games played together as a unit, with the rest of the 11 games left on the schedule the Sixers appear to be timing it right for game 1 of the first round of this years’ playoffs, now we all know the value of Jimmy Butler skills with this talented group, should be fun!