Butler content with defensive-oriented role
November 2, 2012, 3:07 pm
CLEVELAND — Second-year Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler knows he hasn’t fully established himself in the NBA yet. The organization’s decision to pick up his third-year option, while a mere formality in league circles, was meaningful to him.
“That’s exciting, just another opportunity to be here, do what I love around the teammates that I love,” he told CSN Chicago.com prior to the team’s Friday-morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena. “The Bulls are a great organization. I’m extremely blessed and my dream’s still going. I just want to keep it going as long as it can.”
For now, it appears Butler is locked into a spot in the rotation as the Bulls’ backup small forward, a job that doesn’t come with a lot of extended minutes, given head coach Tom Thibodeau’s habit of playing starter Luol Deng for approximately 40 minutes a night.
However, Thibodeau does like Butler’s ability on the defensive end and on Wednesday night’s season-opening win over Sacramento at the United Center, Butler was used as a situational offense-defense substitute to defend Kings’ go-to scorer Tyreke Evans.
“They posed a number of problems because of the quickness that they had on the floor, particularly in the second half with Isaiah Thomas or [Aaron] Brooks, and [Marcus] Thornton and [Tyreke] Evans were out there together,” Thibodeau explained. “I thought Jimmy played hard and did a real solid job for us.”
Whether it’s as a defensive specialist or otherwise, Butler relishes any opportunity to prove he deserves to be on the floor. Furthermore, after an outstanding summer, including a stellar outing at the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas back in July, he wants to show his offensive capabilities, though he’s careful not to force the issue as a scorer.
“I do like that [defensive] role. I feel like that’s a big part of my game, a big part of what my team wants me to do, so as long as I’m out there, I’ve got to do whatever Thibs and my team wants me to do,” Butler said. “Just play simple basketball. Don’t make anything too hard or put too much pressure on myself to do any one thing. Just take the offense as it comes and as it goes, if you have an open shot, take it. If you can get to the rim, if you can create for somebody else, do that.”
Tags: Tom Thibodeau
, Sacramento Kings
, Tyreke Evans
, Luol Deng
, Chicago Bulls
, Jimmy Butler