Butler content with defensive-oriented role

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Butler content with defensive-oriented role

CLEVELAND Second-year Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler knows he hasnt fully established himself in the NBA yet. The organizations decision to pick up his third-year option, while a mere formality in league circles,was meaningful to him.
Thats 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 teams Friday-morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena. The Bulls are a great organization. Im extremely blessed and my dreams 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 doesnt come with a lot of extended minutes, given head coach Tom Thibodeaus habit of playing starter Luol Deng for approximately 40 minutes a night.
However, Thibodeau does like Butlers ability on the defensive end and on Wednesday nights 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 its 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 NBAs summer league in Las Vegas back in July, he wants to show his offensive capabilities, though hes careful not to force the issue as a scorer.
I do like that defensive role. I feel like thats a big part of my game, a big part of what my team wants me to do, so as long as Im out there, Ive got to do whatever Thibs and my team wants me to do, Butler said. Just play simple basketball. Dont 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.

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.

With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.

Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.

“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”

Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.

[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?

Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.

“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.

“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Saturday: 

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

Preview: Knights look to bounce back tonight on CSN

White Sox courting of Luis Robert leads to 'Christmas in May'

Cubs blanked again by Dodgers

Tyler Danish gets win in first big league start as White Sox beat Tigers in first game of doubleheader

After getting shut down by Buck Farmer, White Sox ninth-inning rally falls short

Scott Boras fires back at Jake Arrieta’s critics and makes another Max Scherzer comparison

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Luis Robert will start journey through White Sox organization in Dominican Summer League

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base