The 76ers disappointing road loss to the Orlando Magic hasn't dampened the enthusiasm Jimmy Butler has about his first chance to don a 76ers uniform in a game at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.
"I know it's going to be crazy," Butler said of the contest against the Utah Jazz. "I'm glad, though. A new home for me, I'm excited to get out there and play on [what's] now my home floor in front of those home fans."
The four-time NBA All-Star will look to build on his 14-point, four-rebound, two-assist, and two-turnover performance against the Magic.
It was obvious in that game that Butler will need time to adjust to his new teammates. He basically deferred to them early on, while looking like a guy trying to fit in.
That was understandable. The Sixers didn't officially acquire him and Justin Patton from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round draft pick until Monday.
He and Patton had their introductory news conference in Camden on Tuesday, before boarding a plane to meet their teammates later that day in Orlando. His first on-the-court work as a Sixer came during Wednesday morning's shootaround. And even then, he didn't learn the team's terminology.
The Sixers kept things simple. They focused on going over possible close-game scenarios.
After the game, Butler said he was going to scour the playbook and figure it out.
"Next game, I guarantee I'm going to know a lot more than I did this game," he said.
That will be a good thing for the Sixers (9-7).
In addition to Butler's home debut, the focus will be on Ben Simmons and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. Simmons beat out Mitchell for last season's rookie-of-the-year award, after , Mitchell had sweatshirts made up stating that Simmons, who sat out the 2016-17 season with an injury, wasn't a true rookie.
The Jazz (7-7) also want to erase memories of Wednesday's lopsided 118-68 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Utah scored the fewest number of points in the league this season.
Meanwhile, the Sixers want to forget about losing a 16-point fourth-quarter lead against the Magic. Losing double-digit leads is starting to become the norm for a team with defensive and turnover woes.
On Wednesday, the Magic went on a 21-0 run to take a 97-92 lead with 6:43 remaining. The Sixers missed all five of their shots and committed three turnovers during the run, while Orlando went 7-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from the foul line, without a turnover.
"We'd all be not that wise if we didn't concede that some of it was we got a new person that's in the mix after 16 hours," Brown said of losing the lead. "I felt it. You look down, and you are like wondering what you are going to go to for the moment.
"You got to sort of sort out the group. It's not like you can go to your full package. It was a very tiny window."
But Brown added that it was enough of a package to protect the ball and win the game.
Right now, the biggest thing is remaining patient until Butler and the group jells. Butler, Simmons, and Joel Embiid showed glimpses that they can become a solid trio. The Sixers had good communication on the floor.
"I'm telling you, it's coming sooner rather than later," Butler said. "We will be just fine, because, once we put this thing together, we are going to be tough."