New Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler has spoken on Joel Embiid's perceived frustrations with his new role.
The center has been made to adjust his play since Butler arrived via trade earlier in the season and has voiced his disappointment as it relates to his recent production, adding that he isn't getting enough touches near the basket as of late.
Butler has addressed the issue on Sunday, claiming he understands how Embiid feels following the team's practice on Sunday.
"I didn't read it, cause I don't read what anybody puts out," Butler explained. "People talked about it, you know you scroll up and down Instagram you see it. But I know where his heart is man. His heart's pure, he wants to win, and I can feel for him. It's new to myself, it's new to him, it's new to everybody. But we're OK. I know he wants to win."
Embiid was left out of Friday's 117-111 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday, with coach Brett Brown opting to rest him after he showed signs of fatigue in the team's loss to the Toronto Raptors two nights prior.
"It's frustrating, he wanted to play but coach didn't let him play," Butler continued. "We need him long term. He needed rest, he's been doing a lot on both ends of the floor for this team. So as our best player I can understand being frustrated. He's a hell of a player, and we'll figure out ways to make sure he's always successful."
The center, though, is unhappy with the reports claiming he's frustrated with the new Sixers' system. He is said to have reached out to the Philadelphia Inquirer to clarify his comments and stress that he's pleased to have Butler in the team but is upset with his own play.
Meanwhile, coach Brown reckons the 76ers have done a good job amid the difficulties of integrating a player of Butler's make.
“You are always trying to put our players where they can succeed and not crowd,” he said. “So that’s the challenge of trying to craft a gym around the skill sets of our players,” Brown said. “For the most part, I think we do we do a pretty good job.
“Now, you are [seeing it] with Joel; it’s at times true,” Brown said. “Like, he needs the ball. He can get the ball from time to time [more] than maybe he does.
“So really nothing’s changed in relation to the usage. You are always trying to maximize what you got and make it work as best as you can.”
Joel Embiid believes he'd be more effective if he was able to spend more time near the rim than on the perimeter. But he has averaged more paint touches per game since the Butler trade (9.1) than he did prior to the trade (7.1)— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) December 8, 2018
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What This Means
Embiid's numbers have indeed dropped since Butler's arrival. The big man averaged 28.2 points on 48 percent shooting in the 15 games he played before the guard made his way to Philly. And, since then, he has shot 43.1 percent and is averaging 23.8 points.
There's no doubting he's been affected by the guard joining the side this season. But the team is so much better for it and they should coexist perfectly with a bit more time.