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Jonah Bolden will have a chance to break into Sixers regular rotation

Coach Brett Brown is expanding the Sixers' rotation to see what the team has in Bolden.

Playing extended minutes against Toronto last Saturday, Jonah Bolden finished with four points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
Playing extended minutes against Toronto last Saturday, Jonah Bolden finished with four points, nine rebounds and four blocks.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

SALT LAKE CITY -- Brett Brown is expanding the Sixers’ rotation from nine to 10, using this road trip to see what the team has in Jonah Bolden.

“We’re going to roll with it,” Brown said ahead of the Sixers' 114-97 win against Utah Thursday night. “I look forward to seeing him be on the floor tonight.”

In the Sixers win against the Raptors at home on Saturday, Bolden was given extended minutes because Wilson Chandler was injured and Mike Muscala got into early foul trouble. The power forward finished the night with four blocks that highlighted his defensive versatility.

The Sixers newest addition, Jimmy Butler, sees a lot of himself in Bolden.

“He can really play man and he plays incredibly hard,” Butler said on Thursday. “I actually love and respect guys that play hard and when their name is called, especially when they don’t know when it’s going to be called, that they’re ready. I was that player once upon a time in my career.”

Butler said the hardest part of trying to break into an NBA rotation was two-fold. First there was the task of staying in game shape while not getting any minutes. But the hardest part was staying mentally prepared while knowing that you’re being passed over even though you’re capable of helping.

“I don’t want injuries to happen to anybody, but they do happen, so you have to be ready,” Butler said. “If you’re not, and Coach looks down that line and says ‘Well, he wasn’t ready when his opportunity was here.'”

Bolden said that he is ready and that he knows his skill set could help the Sixers. A switchable player who can defend multiple positions would definitely benefit the Sixers, and Bolden thinks that he fits the bill.

Butler’s role still a work in progress

It’s not that Brown or anyone on the Sixers doesn’t know what Jimmy Butler can do. It’s clear the type of player he is and what he is capable of. It’s more about whom to play him with and where to place him.

Brown is still working to figure out what the most effective and efficient lineups are outside of the starting lineup. When Brown subs in his bench players he staggers them so that the starters are mixed in. He’s still figuring out the right mix with Butler.

“First, who is he paired with. You can start a group and you can end a group, that’s obvious but the stuff in the middle, of thoughtfully designing a rotation and understanding who plays best with each other. ...Then you get into once he’s paired, where do you place him? Where can you help him the most offensively? We’re all learning about it.”