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Film Study: Breaking down Jimmy Butler’s stellar home debut

The All-Star swingman rattled off 28 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals while helping limit Donovan Mitchell

Utah Jazz v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so and decided Liberty Ballers would be the first website you check post-hibernation, you already know Jimmy Butler is a Philadelphia 76er. In his debut on Wednesday, he largely deferred to his new teammates and was discretionary when picking his spots, primarily finding scoring opportunities within the flow of the offense.

But against the Utah Jazz yesterday, he showed exactly why the Sixers acquired him. He was clearly a bigger part of the offensive game plan, and it paid dividends to the tune of 28 points (12-of-15 shooting, 2-of-3 from deep), seven assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Primarily operating on dribble handoffs and pick-and-rolls, Butler exhibited his diverse offensive arsenal by attacking the rim, threading jumpers off the bounce, and creating for others.

On the other end, he hounded Donovan Mitchell all night. With Butler as the primary defender, the second-year guard converted just 5 of his 20 field goal attempts (8-of-15 against everyone else). Matchup data can be misleading because it assigns credit to the closest defender on the shot, but the tape highlights how successful Butler was defensively.

Butler is a legitimate two-way star — defined as a player who makes a positive impact both offensively and defensively, per myself — and Friday’s contest was a perfect example. As the year progresses, tracking how he meshes with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is paramount — there’s been a bit of “your turn, my turn” feel to the dynamic so far — but there’s no denying Butler’s brilliance yesterday, easily asserting himself as the best player on the floor for the game.

*For additional video breakdown of Butler’s night, check out my Twitter Moment.*

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