CLEVELAND—Injured starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler, currently sidelined with a right turf-toe injury, traveled with the team to Cleveland, but Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau cautioned that too much shouldn’t be read into that.
“Just his normal rehab,” the coach said, when asked about Butler’s progress. “You have to take it step-by-step, so getting the swelling completely out, that’s the first part of it. Then, he has to be able to practice. Once he can do that, where there aren’t any repercussions the next day, we’ll go from there. So he’s really two steps away right now.”
Snell with another solid outing as fill-in starter
Rookie swingman Tony Snell made positive contributions once again Saturday, scoring a career-high 18 points, including 3-for-5 shooting from three-point range in 36 minutes of play. Starting in place of Butler for the third consecutive game, Snell also showed off another aspect of his game against the Cavaliers, displaying his transition skills and slashing ability on drives against Cleveland’s half-court defense—admittedly not the best unit he’ll face in his debut NBA campaign—but Thibodeau spoke positively about Snell’s development.
“He’s done a great job of preparing himself. I just want him to concentrate on his improvement and go from there,” the coach said. “The Utah game, he was, I think, pressing a little bit, but I liked his shots. He had a couple go in and out, and I liked his shots against Detroit.”
Thibodeau has faith in top pick Bennett
Cavaliers rookie forward Anthony Bennett has gotten off to a historically bad start for a No. 1 overall draft pick, but Thibodeau believes the UNLV product, who is seemingly buried in Cleveland’s rotation, will eventually turn it around.
“It’s the start. The guy obviously is a great player, great college career. He’s finding his place right now, but he has a lot of talent. Their whole team is going through an adjustment right now, but he’s very, very talented,” Thibodeau said. “It’s a long season. The first part of learning how to be a pro is having the right attitude and right approach. Come in each and every day, study, learn, give everything you have, concentrate and then just get better. At some point, the talent is there. You don’t get here by accident. To get here, you have to be a great player, so everyone on an NBA roster is capable.”