Sixth Men: Jimmy Butler and T.J. McConnell
By Justin DiVirgilio
*There was a tie for who should be the All-Decade’s sixth man so both players will be covered.
Jimmy Butler (aka “Jimmy Buckets”) was not a member of the Philadelphia 76ers for a long time. Yet, he made an impact on the fans, team, coaches, and organization. Good, bad or indifferent, Butler made his presence felt within in Philadelphia. Acquired in the November of 2018 from the Minnesota Timberwolves, “Jimmy Buckets” was easily the biggest trade the Sixers made this decade.
Butler being moved to Philadelphia meant the 76ers were leveling up in their chase to win an NBA championship. The 6-foot-7 swingman’s stint in Philly was short, only playing 55 games with the team. Butler averaged 18.2 points, 4.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 33.2 minutes for the Sixers. Butler showed up in 12 playoff games for Philly as he averaged 19.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.4 steals.
Butler brought an edge to the team that was needed out of a multi-skilled wing player, an area the Sixers had been lacking for most the 2010s. His attitude fit the city as it gravitated to his worker mentality on the court.
Butler had his ups and downs with the 76ers. From identical regular season game winners on the road, to rumors of having clashes with Brett Brown and to picking up the team in the playoffs; Jimmy Butler’s time was certainly a memorable one in Philadelphia.
T.J. McConnell is a “Process” darling. The point guard had grit, fight, will and a declaration to always be a pest to opposing teams. He was the first guy to dive on the floor for loose balls most nights. McConnell won over teammates, coaches and fans with his attitude and approach to the game of basketball. McConnell was a big part of the Philadelphia 76ers for a solid four seasons.
McConnell really got his NBA playing chops with the Sixers. McConnell played in 75 or more games each season for the 76ers from 2015-2019. McConnell was an ultra competitor and that was one of the first things you noticed about the guard’s play.
McConnell was a player that wouldn’t have had a real shot in the NBA if he were not signed by Philly. His play showed that he was grateful for that and boy so were all of us. McConnell’s energy and intensity on the court was unmatched as far as Sixers that have donned the uniform in the 2010s. The type of passion that helped swing games in the 76ers favor some nights and be eternally loved in Philadelphia.
McConnell’s career numbers with the team do not show his impact. His most important game of them all and true representation of his impact is his Game 4 performance against the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. McConnell’s 19 point, eight rebound and five assist performance prevented a sweep in the series.
McConnell will forever be remembered, revered and loved for that performance as well as his time as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.