Jimmy Butler’s “culture clash” in Philadelphia could lead to an interesting summer

The Philadelphia 76ers locked up the third seed in the NBA Playoffs with a Boston Celtics loss to the Orlando Magic Sunday night. The postseason is and should be the main focus, but it’s difficult to disregard the importance of this coming Summer.

A team source told PFO – Philadelphia that there is some doubt, concerning the future of Jimmy Butler and the Sixers.

“I’m waiting to see him live up to any part of his reputation,” the team source said. “He doesn’t like being third fiddle.”

Unlike Butler, the team is confident Tobias Harris will be back with the team next year, “unless something goes very wrong.” The sense around the organization is that Harris embraces the role as the number-three focus.

You may notice Butler says ‘as long as we’re winning i don’t care’ at the end of questions about play style and taking a back seat. To say Brett Brown, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons have catered themselves to Butler is an understatement.

One of the hot topics, circulating the internet, is the team’s defense. It’s easy to view Butler’s willingness to blend in as not putting forth effort, but the team has indicated that they’ve seen no signs of effortless behavior from Butler.

The concerning topic is Butler’s unwillingness to adapt to the team’s defensive philosophy, which is a system Simmons and Embiid prefer, according to the source.

“Butler comes from the NBA defense era with Tom Thibodeau where a lot of NBA fans think defense is all about effort which obviously isn’t true,” the source told PFO. “Butler comes from a school where it’s all about one-on-one defense – me-vs-you – and that’s not how this defense works. I don’t think it’s a buy in thing; I think it’s a culture clash.”

Jimmy Butler, 29, is averaging 18.9 points this season, along with 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists. The 76ers sent Robert Covington and Dario Saric to the Minnesota Timberwolves in November, which is when they received Butler, along with Justin Patton, who was just released to clear the way for newest Sixer, Greg Monroe.

The source told PFO that the overall summary of the Jimmy Butler experience is “heavy resistance to change” but in more of a league-wide perspective.

“He has to learn a completely new language on both ends of the floor,” the source explained, and also added Butler’s unwillingness to accept the Mike D’Antoni high-pace Phoenix Suns or present-day Golden State Warriors basketball as the correct way to play the game. “He thinks that’s not basketball, so to speak, and the defensive side of the ball is the same way; old school versus new school.”

Again, as Butler has said on several occasions, he is only focused on winning. The playoffs is about winning, and it could be the turning point of this saga.