Philadelphia 76ers: Jimmy Butler is a Karma Chameleon

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

While Jimmy Butler has been an excellent closer for the Philadelphia 76ers, he has to stop disappearing for long stretches of the game to remain vital.

Jimmy Butler comes and goes on the offensive end of the court.

While this isn’t particularly breaking news for anyone who’s caught a Philadelphia 76ers game in 2019, it has been increasingly frustrating to watch the 29-year-old guard/forward go silent for long stretches of the game, only to burst back and cannibalize an entire quarter in route to an above average performance.

Case and point; the Sixers 114-106 win over the Orlando Magic.

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In about 16 minutes of action, Butler scored two points in the first half and missed his only non-fouled shot from the field. Granted, Butler still impacted the game, playing solid D while racking up three assists, two rebounds, and a turnover, but again, it’s surprising to see a certified scorer nicknamed ‘Jimmy Buckets’ go silent for an entire half.

And really, the third quarter wasn’t a whole lot better.

In eight minutes of action, Butler attempted four shots, making two of them. Again, he stuffed the stat sheet in different ways, stealing two passes in route to an eventual dunk, but with 12 minutes left to play, it looked like a longshot that Butler would finish out the game with 10 points, let alone his season average of 18.5.

But in the fourth quarter, Jimmy came alive.

In a little less than 10 minutes of action, Butler gave a packed Wells Fargo Center crowd a show, putting up five shots for eight points to go with another steal and another assist.

In those last 12 minutes, Butler looked like the certified star Elton Brand traded Dario Saric and Robert Covington to procure and flashed just how potent the Sixers offense can be when firing on all cylinders.

However, the game also highlighted some potential faults in the Sixers’ roster construction that could be exploited over a seven-game playoff series.

While Butler’s at times non-existent scoring output can limit the team’s overall offensive output, his shot selection has also been fairly suspect. On 10 shots from the field, Butler only attempted a single 3 pointer, a 26-foot miss from his ‘signature spot’. Now granted, one could say this was an off night for Mr. Buckets, but he’s only averaging 2.8 3 pointers a night with the Sixers, his lowest average since the 2012-13 season.

Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick, the Sixers other starting lineup shooters combined for seven made 3s on 12 attempts, in large part due to the later’s insane slump-breaking 6-9 performance from deep (more on that here).  Again, this was an interesting game for the Sixers, as Redick took 1.2 more 3s than he typically attempts, and Harris took 3.4 less, but it’s still concerning to see Butler attempting a near career low shots from both the field and 3 when his team is absolutely desperate for outlet passes to facilitate Ben Simmons‘ game.

dark. Next. J.J. Redick has the Orlando Magic’s number

But what can Jimmy Butler do to right this ship and become a more consistent offensive contributor? Easy: Shoot. While he appears content with his current role, whether by designed play calls from Brett Brown, or a more aggressive approach, the Philadelphia 76ers need vintage Jimmy Butler to become legitimate contenders for the Eastern Conference crown.