With the Philadelphia 76ers knowing their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal opponent, the question that raises serious concern; who has the most to prove this postseason?
If you were to go around and ask this question to Sixers fans, you would get many different responses. But, one name comes to mind above the rest: Jimmy Butler. You may get the occasional “Joel Embiid” answer because he is our best player, and we are only going as far as he takes us. Or “Ben Simmons” because he left a lot to prove in last postseason. That is just simply not the case.
There are many new faces on this team for many different reasons. These new faces are going to be held the most accountable for our playoff success. To be clear, Brett Brown will have a lot to prove these playoffs as well. He will be responsible for integrating the new faces seamlessly in such a way that leads to postseason success. However, these players were brought in for a reason – to be difference makers.
Fixing The Wrongs
Obviously, Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler are two huge additions. But, Jimmy Butler was acquired to fix an issue that plagued the Sixers last year. It was quite obvious the 76ers didn’t have really anyone that could create their own shot or offense, especially late in games. The Sixers now have a couple “shot creators” on the roster. One of them, however, has more pressure to produce in these playoffs than the other.
Again, Brett Brown has to make sure he puts each player in the best position to succeed this postseason. He has to manage Embiid’s workload. Brett has to make sure the floor is properly spaced for the star players. He has to make sure the pick-and-roll defense isn’t an issue. These are just a couple of responsibilities that come to mind. But, his biggest responsibility may be to ensure Jimmy Butler has the keys to the Ferrari, as one may say.
Worth The Max?
If Jimmy Butler thinks he is worth a max contract slot this summer, then he must do what he was advertised and brought in to do. He needs to be the difference maker. Jimmy needs to be “the guy” late in these postseason games. Jimmy doesn’t fit as seamlessly into this team as Tobias Harris does. That brings up the question, is he worth the max? You see, Tobias Harris doesn’t step on other people’s toes like Jimmy Butler does. Tobias is okay with being a third or fourth option. Jimmy, on the other hand, has voiced over and over again that he wants the ball.
Jimmy is in the prime of his career, in a contract year. This may very well be his last big NBA contract. He has absolutely everything to prove to not just himself, but the fans of the Philadelphia 76ers and the league. This postseason will determine whether Jimmy Butler is a 76er long term or not.