Joel Embiid frustrated with his role since Philly traded for Jimmy Butler

Where Jimmy Butler goes, drama seems to follow.
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Jimmy Butler

Just like fans in Chicago and Minnesota already know, basketball fans in Philadelphia are starting to find out that where Jimmy Butler goes, drama follows. 

Somewhat hilariously, 76ers franchise superstar Joel Embiid went on record with Philly.com saying he hasn't felt like himself since Butler arrived in a trade from the Wolves on Nov. 10. 

"I haven’t been myself lately," the big man said. "I think it’s mainly because of the way I’ve been used, which is I’m being used as a spacer, I guess, a stretch-5, which I’m only shooting [29] percent” from 3-point range.

"But it seems like the past couple games, like with the way I play, our setup, [coach Brett Brown] always has me starting on the perimeter … and it just really frustrates me."

Embiid stressed that his frustration is with the way he's being used, not with Butler. 

“Since the trade, it’s been really down," Embiid told the newspaper of his on-court success. "I tend to get triple-teamed a lot. I was in the flow of the offense. I feel like I’m not any more. There’s not a lot of possessions on the block. I don’t know. We got to figure it out.”

The numbers show a drop in Embiid’s offensive performance since Butler joined the 76ers from the Timberwolves in November. He went from averaging 28.2 points per game to 23.8. His field goal percentage dropped from 48.4 percent to 43.1 and his 3-point percentage is down to 27.3 percent from 30.2. Embiid is also getting to the free throw line at a lesser rate.

The numbers don't lie, and they all show Embiid isn't contributing as much since Butler arrived. 

  • Pre-trade Embiid: 28.2 points, 48.4 % shooting, 43.1 % 3-point shooting. 
  • Post-trade Embiid: 23.8 points, 43.1 % shooting, 27.3 % 3-point shooting. 

Karl-Anthony Towns experienced a similar drop in production in his first season playing alongside Butler, but even though Towns scored fewer points per game and took four fewer shots per game he was still able to maintain his field-goal percentage and actually increase his 3-point percentage from 36.7 percent in 2016-17 to 42.1 percent in 2017-18. 

It's probably nothing more than some growing pains for the 76ers as they learn how to play with Butler, but it's also interesting that Minnesota is having no issues with on-court chemistry with Robert Covington and Dario Saric, whom they received in exchange for Butler. 

But at the end of the day, Philly is 18-9 and in third place in the Eastern Conference and Butler has been playing extremely well, scoring 38 points in his last two games in addition to owning a couple of game-winning shots in his short time with the Sixers. 

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