Maybe Jimmy Butler is bringing drama to Philadelphia after all. Just not the type you would maybe expect. Life has been tough for Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid lately. For starters, he has failed to score 20-plus points in the last three games. Additionally, he says his poor performance is because of his new role since the Sixers acquired Jimmy Butler.
Embiid, who normally deals damage from inside, has been forced to almost live on the outside — allowing Butler to lead the way.
“I haven’t been myself lately,” Embiid told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. “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 five, which [is why] I’m only shooting  percent from three-point range.”
For what it’s worth, Butler’s presence isn’t having a negative impact on the court. They’ve won nine of 12 since acquiring him. They’re 18-9 overall and in second place all by themselves out East. If Embiid isn’t happy now, though, there might be problems down the road. He just hopes it doesn’t become a trend.
“But it seems like the past couple games, like with the way I play, our setup, [head coach Brett Brown] always has me starting on the perimeter … and it just really frustrates me. My body feels great, and it’s just I haven’t been playing well,” he adds.
The 76ers have gone 9-3 since Butler joined the team but Embiid’s numbers have gone down dramatically since his arrival. He’s gone from 28.2 points per game on 48.4% shooting to a 23.8 per game on 43.1% over his last 11 games.
“Since the trade, it’s been really down,” Embiid continued. “I tend to get triple-teamed a lot, I was in the flow of the offense. I feel like I’m not anymore. There’s not a lot of possessions on the block. I don’t know. We got to figure it out.”
Up next, the Sixers will play host to the Pistons on Monday night. Will coach Brown be able to keep his big man happy in the meantime?