The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to have Jimmy Butler in the lineup for his team debut when they finish a three-game road trip at the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. Butler was acquired in a headline-grabbing trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and could be a perfect fit for a team eyeing the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I mean, where do you begin," coach Brett Brown told reporters when asked what the four-time All-Star brings to the roster. "I think that defensively, and with the physicality that he plays with, and he replicates ... he mirrors the spirit of Philadelphia. He is a fierce competitor, and there is toughness that he plays with. It's who he is. He wears it on his face. It's seen in his game. It's confirmed by multiple All-Defensive teams, and it's a perfect fit for our city and our program defensively." Butler joins a team that has won seven of its last 10 after Monday's 124-112 win at Miami to improve to 1-1 on the trip. Joel Embiid bounced back from a rough shooting night in Saturday's loss to Memphis to provide 35 points and 18 rebounds for Philadelphia, which improved to 2-6 on the road. The Magic, who fell by one point to the Sixers on the road last month, won four of five before falling 117-109 at Washington on Monday.
ABOUT THE 76ERS (9-6): Brown has yet to indicate whose spot Butler will take when Wednesday rolls around but it stands to reason that he'll eat up many of the minutes currently reserved for second-year man Markelle Fultz, who had five points on 2-of-8 shooting Monday night. The 20-year-old has struggled with his shot since becoming a pro and had a notable double-clutch on a foul shot against the Heat, just about the time the news broke that he had parted ways with a trainer attempting to help improve his shot. JJ Redick often replaces Fultz to start second halves and the veteran is averaging 22.5 points over the last two games.
ABOUT THE MAGIC (6-8): Swingman Terrence Ross missed more than four months last year due to knee and leg issues, but he's making up for lost time while averaging 13.8 points -- including at least 21 in his last two games -- off the bench. He is 9-for-13 from 3-point range during those two contests and leads Orlando with 32 makes from beyond the arc despite being fifth in minutes played. Aaron Gordon (ankle) returned from a one-game layoff to produce 18 points and 10 rebounds at Washington.
1. After making 4-of-13 3-pointers in eight October games, Fultz has yet to attempt a long-range shot in seven contests this month.
2. Magic C Nikola Vucevic has three straight double-doubles and eight -- along with one triple-double -- in his last 12 games.
3. Redick scored a season-high 31 points and made the decisive 3-pointer in the closing seconds in the 116-115 win over Orlando on Oct. 20.