Jimmy Butler’s performance in this series is a reminder what the Philadelphia Sixers could have been

The complete history of the Process-Era Philadelphia 76erswhen it is finished, there will likely be many times and decisions that need to be reread. It's difficult to determine which decisions were most important without the benefit of hindsight.

It's impossible to see what it is. Jimmy ButlerDid to the Sixers Tuesday Night in the Miami HeatWe are not surprised by Butler's win of 120-85 in Game 5 of Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Sixers had traded for ButlerThe previous fall, he had lost faith and basically snarled to his way out Minnesota in the hope that his competitive spirit would be matched by his veteran savvy and help them become a superstar duo. Ben Simmons Joel EmbiidTo the next level.

But it did not work out as planned. While Butler and Embiid were close friends and remain friends, Simmons was disenfranchised because of Butler's leadership and playing style.

Both wanted the ball in their hands which made them both a challenge to each other. According to team sources, it came to the point where the organization had to make a choice between them. They chose Simmons. He was younger, and seemed to have a higher ceiling at the time. He was still on a rookie contract, so he wasn't eligible for a large free-agent deal. Many organizations would have done the same.

This choice didn't last long, not least because Simmons' career has deteriorated over the past 2 years. Also, Butler's performance for the Heat has been excellent since they invested in him in two separate 8-figure contracts.

Erik Spoelstra, Heat coach said Butler is a “great competitor in his core”. He scored 23 points on Tuesday for the Heat and only seven points on 2-of-8 from the Sixers when he was their primary defender.

“He understands what it takes to win a competition. You have to do it both ways. He's able compete with ferocity but also has an extremely stable mind. He's truly unique in that he is focused on winning solid basketball for his team when things get crazy.

Miami was attracted to Butler's ferocity as well as his competitive nature when he approached free agency in the summer. While some teams worried about his age and whether his volatile personality would be a fit within their organization cultures, the Heat recognized a great match for his style and received a Finals appearance and the Eastern Conference's top seed.

With his two-way brilliance, Butler has earned Miami's trust in him during this series. He also assumed the point guard role of playmaker. Kyle LowryYou are having trouble with a hamstring issueThree of the five games were missed.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Butler's 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists was his 10th playoff game with 20 points, 5 rebounds & 5 assists with the Heat. He is the third Heat player to surpass the total. LeBron James (47) & Dwyane Wade (43).

Only Embiid has the ability to describe what it was like to compete, falling behind 3-2 to Butler and Heat in this best of seven series. He also knows that if a different set of decisions were made in 2019, Butler might still be his teammate.

It is something he rarely discusses publicly. However, Simmons admitted to regretting his relationship with Embiid last fall after a report suggested that Simmons was becoming frustrated. the choice to let Butler go:

“We got rid Jimmy, which I still think was a mistake. Just to be sure [Simmons]”He needed the ball in his hand,” Embiid stated last September. They made that decision. It's surprising, just like I said.

The Sixers are now in danger of being eliminated and Embiid could lose another year of his prime, so it is a question that will continue to haunt both the series as well as the organization.

What would the NBA look like if Simmons had been chosen by the Sixers? Could they have kept them both, after the heart-breaking Game 7 loss in Toronto, and forced them into coexistence?

Butler and Embiid have remained close to each other and continue to communicate regularly. It's not a secret that they are close friends and talk regularly on social media. An interview with ESPNEmbiid stated that he and Butler would watch each other's performances and games in December 2020.

Embiid stated that he always told him to be more aggressive. He would call me when things weren't going my way and tell me to be more aggressive. You must be aggressive. Your guys will not win if they aren't aggressive.

“‘You have to want the ball. To command it, you must command them. And they should give it to you. You need that mentality. “You have to lead them.

This was the exact message Embiid needed as he transformed into a MVP candidate in 2021, and again this season.

Butler has been the one delivering the heat for the Heat, rather than delivering this message to him at the bench or in his locker room during this series.

Jo is the one I talk to every day. That's my guy, even before this series. Embiid is a brother to my heart,” Butler said. It's an honor to play against him. Although it was great to be with him on the same team, as I was in years past, it is a real privilege to be able play against the best and have an opportunity beat the best. For many years, they will hold that in common. “But after basketball, that's still my guy.”

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