Jimmy Butler: No clear leadership, expectations with 76ers

Jimmy Butler and 76ers coach Brett Brown
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
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Jimmy Butler made waves by speaking up during a 76ers film session last season. Within two months of getting traded by the Timberwolves, questions emerged about Butler’s long-term fit in Philadelphia. 76ers coach Brett Brown downplayed any issues, and the 76ers put out word they still hoped to re-sign Butler.

Of course, Butler left for the Heat last summer. Is it fair to draw a straight line from that film session to his departure?

For Butler, an earlier meeting was actually the first red flag. He described the session Brown called with Butler, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick.

Butler on The JJ Redick Podcast:

We’re all sitting in there, and nothing got accomplished. At all. So, I was like – and I told you this as we walked out – “J.J., why would I ever go back in there again? Nothing is getting accomplished. Nobody is saying nothing to anybody.” And we’re just sitting in here watching film, and you can literally here the thing just clicking. And we’re all just looking around.

On any given day, me as a person, as a player, I didn’t know who the f— was in charge. I think that was my biggest thing. I didn’t know what the f— to expect whenever I would go into the gym, whenever I’d go into the plane, whenever I’d go into the game. I was like, man. I think I was as lost as the next motherf—er.

So much going on any given day. I was like, yup, I guess I’m just here to work. I didn’t know who to talk to.

After leaving for Miami, Butler insinuated something undisclosed ended his tenure in Philadelphia. Is this that? Maybe. But I still think he was referring to something involving his contract offer.

Either way, this reflects poorly on Brown.

Brown was a capable steward of young, losing rosters during the dark days of The Process. That bought him time on the job. But is he capable of successfully guiding a winning team? The jury is still out.

Management has given him a roster with major fit issues. Butler isn’t easy to coach. None of this is disqualifying.

But this also isn’t the first time Brown has faced similar criticism. Consider Butler’s remarks another data point in the ongoing evaluation of Brown.