Philadelphia 76ers: Jimmy Butler shouldn’t change what makes him him

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Though the uniform he wears may change, expecting ex-Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler to do so is kind of missing the point of what makes him great.

In his introductory press conference with the Miami Heat, Jimmy Butler expressed a desire to change his narrative.

Now granted, one can’t fault the 30-year-old four-time All-Star for wanting to redefine himself if he feels as though he, or his game, is misunderstood after forcing his way out of Chicago, forcing his way out of Minnesota, and forcing a sign-and-trade away from the Philadelphia 76ers, but after eight years and 578 games in the NBA, it that even possible?

I mean, we’re talking about a player who was so committed to forcing a trade that he effectively tanked an entire franchise to get his way, I doubt he’ll be considered a “locker room builder” anytime soon – that is unless that locker room belongs to some cartoonishly evil WCW crew.

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And really, Butler shouldn’t attempt to change the narrative around him as a player; it’s what makes him great.

Butler is a tough guy, a closer. He’s the type of player who can singlehandedly take over the fourth quarter and hit a buzzer-beating contested 3 – all the while covering an opposing team’s best player.

At the same time, Butler is a bit of an A- well, you can hear his exact quote here, and that swagger is infectious when used for good.

Sure, Butler will (not so) occasionally get into fights with his own coaches over a perceived slight, but he’s also the type of player who fires up the troops and gets a few fellow millionaires to put on cheap headbands to promote a shared commitment to playing stingy defense.

I’ll admit, I even ordered a pair of headbands myself in solidarity: Butler even got to me.

Say what you will about Butler’s… interesting tenure with the Sixers, but he clearly had an impact on Ben Simmons‘ development as a perimeter defender and was a huge reason why the team made it a shot away from the Eastern Conference Finals.

In a weird way, Butler even helped the 76ers on his way out-of-town, as his sign-and-trade brought Josh Richardson – a younger player with a remarkably similar skill set – when he could have simply signed elsewhere for more money.

That probably had more to do with wanting to replace Dwyane Wade as the new face of the Miami Heat, but still, it doesn’t feel like there’s too much bad blood between the two parties.

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Ultimately, the 2019-20 edition of the Jimmy Butler-experiment shouldn’t affect the Philadelphia 76ers too much, as the team has very little chance to compete for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals, but in this writer’s opinion, Mr. Buckets shouldn’t try to redefine his reputation: it’s what makes him him.