“It’s so fun to win. So much more fun to play with these guys,” Butler said in an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia after scoring 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting in his first Sixers home game.
“Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them and they do their job,” Butler said when asked what makes him so comfortable with his new teammates.
The comments could be construed as a criticism of Butler’s old team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, though Butler said earlier in the week that he had no issues with his former teammates.
On Friday, Butler’s focus was on Philadelphia, where he received a loud ovation during introductions. Fans at Wells Fargo Center, a crowd that included Basketball Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, chanted Butler’s name throughout the game.
“The crowd was amazing,” he said.
There are questions about how well Butler will fit in Philadelphia alongside two other ball-dominant players in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Embiid finished with 23 points against the Jazz, and Simmons had 10 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds.
Butler said he felt comfortable sharing the floor with his teammates in his second game with the franchise.
“When you put five really good basketball players out there, the job is easy because the ball is going to move,” he said. “Guys are going to shoot when open, pass to the open guy. Basketball is just that easy. With this group of guys, it is really easy.”
Sixers coach Brett Brown said he has implemented roughly 25 percent of the offensive wrinkles that he plans to introduce with Butler on the roster. The Sixers acquired Butler in a five-player deal that was completed Monday.
“It’s a whole new gift I have, we have,” Brown said. “That’s a fantastic debut for him. He was a bell ringer tonight. Really validates the excitement we all have getting him in the program.”
Philadelphia limited Utah to 4-for-22 shooting from behind the arc; Jazz star Donovan Mitchell missed 10 of his 11 3-point attempts.
“The potential we can have defensively is huge, so we got to start on that end,” Embiid said.
Simmons attempted just nine shots against Utah but said afterward that he had no issue with the shot allotment.
“I don’t need to come out here and drop 30, 20,” he said. “My job is to run the team.”
Simmons added that Butler, 29, has fit in well with the young group in Philadelphia thus far.
“I think he’s just come in with the right attitude and mentality, and he’s just trying to make sure he’s doing everything correctly — buying into what we’ve already built here,” he said. “He’s doing an amazing job at that.”