Blogtable Archive

Blogtable: With Butler aboard, what are the Sixers' title chances?

Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.

* * *

GM Elton Brand says the addition of Jimmy Butler can push the Sixers toward their goal of an NBA title. What say you?

* * *

Steve Aschburner: Toward is correct. To, not so much. Philadelphia is better with the addition of Butler. His pluses as a top two-way player and willing closer outweigh his minuses, mostly the trade-off in shooting range the Sixers made in the deal. (No worries here about Butler’s impact on chemistry — he’ll be on his best behavior now until he gets paid in the summer.) But the shooting need is real and so are concerns about Philly’s depth. This deal tightens the grouping near the top of the East but IMO doesn’t leapfrog the Sixers past either Boston or Toronto.

Shaun Powell: Yes, he’s right: This can push the Sixers toward that goal. Whether they actually reach it is a whole ‘nother thing. The math says the Sixers have a Big 3, although none of the members have actually won anything. What’s in their favor is Joel Embiid is having a Kia MVP-like year, Butler should feel rejuvenated with the new digs, and JJ Redick has played at a career high so far. But depth and inexperience could be their downfall at least this season.

John Schuhmann: Yes, they’re closer. Butler gives them more punch off the dribble, somebody they can give the ball to late in games. But the Sixers lost some depth, they still lack shooting, and we don’t know how well the pieces, specifically Butler and Ben Simmons, are going to fit together. Right now, it’s hard to favor Philly over the Raptors or Celtics when it comes to predicting the East representative in The Finals, but the playoffs are still five months away and a lot can change in that time. Brand will obviously keep shopping for some shooting.

Sekou Smith: I understand the excitement of Elton Brand and all of the folks in Philadelphia who are fired up about the addition of Jimmy Butler. And they might all be right about Butler being the final, championship piece for the Sixers. But I don’t think it’s happening this season. Even with a player as dynamic as Butler in the fold alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, I don’t see the Sixers passing up the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks without seeing these new-look Sixers in action for at least a few weeks. You are asking Butler to do and be something he has not been previously in his career, and that’s a championship-level superstar. He’s got the talent and the drive to be that type of player. We know he believes himself to be that type of player. Now we’ll see if he can play up to it.