The JJ Redick podcast is back and better than ever. JJ returning to social media is the biggest story developing in the country and I cannot think of anything that is more pressing. To kick things off with a bang, JJ had his former teammate in Philadelphia, Jimmy Butler on the pod. I haven’t heard the only thing so I’m not sure how many times Jimmy Butler talked about how hard he works. But here is the clip that is catching everyone’s attention:
Sparknotes: JJ had a good relationship with Brett Brown, Jimmy Butler didn’t. In the playoffs, Brett wanted to give Jimmy more ball handling responsibilities and take the ball out of Ben Simmons’ hands. Jimmy thought it didn’t make sense. It upset Ben in the process.
But…is Brett Brown really wrong for employing this simple strategy? At its most fundamental level his plan was to give his best/ most proven player the ball with the season hanging in the balance.
The Sixers had transitioned from “happy to be here” to “win now” seemingly overnight. Brown didn’t have any time to waste. He did the right thing and put the ball in his best playmakers hands when the games mattered most. In the series with Toronto, Kawhi Leonard became the primary ballhandler for the Raptors. It was a complete flip from the regular season where Kyle Lowry ran the offense.
There is a reason that the 76ers often found themselves in the position of jumping out to early leads and then blowing them late in crunch time. They had talent at a variety of positions that allowed the offense to efficiently flourish. But, when things tightened, their two “go to” guys before Jimmy Butler arrived were a young center and a young point guard who couldn’t shoot. It’s hard to run an offense through a big man late in games because the paint tightens up and it’s difficult to get paint touches. It’s even harder to run an offense through a point guard who shoots 59% from the free throw line. Enter Jimmy. The proven veteran who could handle the ball, facilitate, and score in a variety of ways. There is a reason that Jimmy Butler was given the opportunity to hit two buzzer beaters soon after he was traded for. The move was all about bringing in a closer.
The 76ers would have never traded for Jimmy Butler if they believed Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were ready to lead a championship run. But they were young, and they needed a crutch. SO they got Jimmy and later the landed Tobias Harris. The sad thing is, Simmons and Embiid didn’t seem ready then but they do now. And the roster is built so poorly around them, we may never really now