Everything is going well for Jimmy Butler now. Whether that’s the honeymoon phase or he’s truly happy in Philadelphia with the Sixers is yet to be determined, but the guard is happy with himself and his team after two games.
Butler made his home debut with the Sixers on Friday night, hosting the Utah Jazz after a last-second loss in Orlando earlier in the week. Butler got big cheers from the Philly faithful and helped spark a 113-107 win. Butler led all Sixers with 28 points, seven assists and three boards in the win, and after the game, he raved about the team he’s joined just a month into the season.
One of the concerns skeptics had about Butler joining the Sixers was that he’s clashed with young players in the past, and his tendency to throw himself full-bore into games will grate on his teammates. But Butler’s postgame press conference was a great sign for Philly fans. He’s tremendously happy with the Sixers so far, calling his first game at home “lovely.”
“This crowd was rocking,” Butler said on the court after the win. “We did what we’re supposed to do. It’s so fun to win, it’s so much more fun to play with these guys.”
Butler’s quotes are probably not a direct slight of his former teammates in Minnesota, but it’s hard not to think of the difference in his language about Philadelphia compared to what he’d said about the Timberwolves according to past reports. Later in the interview, Butler again stressed how refreshing it is to play with teammates that want to win but can also handle criticism.
“Everybody wants to win and when somebody messes up, you talk to them, they don’t take it personal and they do their job,” Butler said after a question specifically about J.J. Redick that seemed to have been answered in a more general sense. “I think everybody’s such a good basketball player, and we all want to do right but sometimes we mess up.”
Butler described the Sixers as “talented” and “hard-working,” and said their will to win is “unmatchable.”
“I love these guys,” Butler said as an entire city seemed to breathe a sign of relief. Maybe this is where Butler belongs after all.