Sam: Adding a player could disrupt Bulls chemistry

Sam: Adding a player could disrupt Bulls chemistry

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
10:47 p.m.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

With rumors swirling about the Bulls potentially acquiring sharpshooter Rasual Butleras previously reported, CSNChicago.com confirmed late Sunday that the swingman received a buyout from the Los Angeles ClippersDerrick Rose discussed how an additional player could affect the teams chemistry.

That would be something that when they get hereif they get here, if someone comes herewell just have to see if it affects the teams chemistry, but I really dont know how it would be right now. I think that we have a good team right now. I think our chemistry is fine, the guys that we have are great and Im fine with the people we have right now, said Rose.

The All-Star point guard strongly believes the current squad is a championship-caliber team. Definitely. Theres no point in us even being here practicing if we didnt think we could win a championship. I think that we have a good team. I think that we have good guys on the team that are winners, that are basketball players, that just want to play ball and win. As for Thibodeau, he was non-committal about the speculation.

I havent heard anything about it, said the coach. If they Bulls general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson get close on something, theyll let me know, but like Ive said all along, I love the team we have; I love the guys we have.

If the Bulls were to acquire Butler, the 6-foot-7 swingman would provide them with an additional shooter to spread the defense against teams like the Celtics and Heat, who may be more apt to pack the lane to defend against Roses penetration and Chicagos size. At the same time, Butler would join an already-crowded legion of wing players, as Thibodeau has shown hes comfortable with Keith Bogans as a starter, meaning that since Ronnie Brewers defense is another Thibs priority, Kyle Korver would be the most likely candidate to see a reduction in playing time.

Carlos Boozer spoke about the teams last losslast week in Torontoand how the Bulls have adjusted since then. We learned our lesson in Toronto after the break. We had that five-day breakAll-Star breakcame back and lost that game in Toronto, a team that on paper, we should have beat, but we took them lightly and got kicked in the butt.. Opined Joakim Noah: You know what? Torontosometimes people talk about recordsbut they have a lot of talent. It was my first game back, the first game after the All-Star break. We definitely had a letdown, so you have to learn from our mistakes and its all about experiences and getting better.

In the locker room, Rose muttered to himself about missing free throws, shots in general and being out of rhythm. When queried about it later he responded, Ive just got to get back. Im still putting up my regular numbers, but just getting back, playing in rhythm. But were winning. I could care less about that. He cited the All-Star break as the primary cause. Going four days without really shooting or playing, I think that could throw off anybodys rhythm.

Brian Scalabrine commented on the fan support the Bulls receivednot uncommon at road games as of lateas well as the crowd cheering for him personally. We were in the building tonight, right? A lot of Chicago fans. A lot of MVP chants. It was nice, Scalabrine quipped to CSNChicago.com. The Scalabrine chants were strong tonight. I mean, I cant say anything about that. Thanks for coming out, thanks for supporting the Washington Wizards.

Rose, the recipient of M-V-P chants throughout the game, also discussed the now-familiar aspect of away games. Its crazy, but Im loving it right now, said Rose. Coming into every arena and everybodys cheering it. When asked who got more support between he and Scalabrine, however, the MVP frontrunner answered, Scal. He got some M-V-P cheers, too. Scal gets that everywhere. Hes a good teammate and Im fortunate to have him on my team.

Bulls shooting guard Keith Bogans, a Washington, D.C. area native, has played in several cities during his professional career, but being on a contender makes a ticket to one of his games even more of a prized commodity these days. Its always good to come home and win the way we did today. It gives me bragging rights when I come home in the summer, Bogans told CSNChicago.com. Everybody wants to come to the games, so I just keep it to a minimumimmediate family and a few friendsall that 30 and 40 tickets, Im not doing that anymore.

Gibson limped off the court on two separate occasions, but Thibodeau wasnt concerned. Taj is fine. I think he tweaked his ankle a little bit, but he said he was fine. He went back in.

Rose sympathized with fellow former No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall, also a John Calipari protg. Its definitely hard, just playing through it, said Rose of the Wizards rookie.

His numbers are good, definitely for a rookie and I know that its tough, going from winning all those games, then coming here, not being mentioned with some of the best teams in the NBA. Its tough, man, but hes playing well. Continued Rose: Roses rookie season was a learning experience. This year it is, too, but my rookie year, everything was new. You had to come in, learn how your teammates are, learn an NBA system. It takes a long time to do that and it was hell my rookie year. It was hell, but when you come in, youve got to have a little confidence yourself because guys will take advantage of you if you come in and you dont know what youre doing or it seems like you dont know what youre doing.

Its tough in this league, Ill say, with people that dont have confidence, especially at my position because thats whats going on right now. Its like a point guard league and every night, youve got to be able to come out here and compete against the best Im more comfortable. I think that guys like Keith and everybody, Kurt, made me more comfortable at my position, teaching me certain things on pick-and-rolls, things on plays to put us in a position to win and I have a lot of confidence right now, especially when I play and it has a lot to do with them and the coaching staffI can only imagine what hes going through. Our record wasnt anything like his. We barely got in the playoffs.

Rose also discussed the Bulls current status and postseason possibilities. You have to look at what Miami and Boston are doing. Were in the same little group, where everybodys comparing us and it wouldnt be bad to get that No. 1 spot, said Rose. Teams like the 76ers, Indiana, Charlotte, all those teams are playing good right now, trying to get that spot into the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoffsthe Bucks are right thereknowing that you can play one of those teams, you think about it a little bit.

Saunders holds both the Bulls and Rose in high regard, placing the team in rare air atop the Eastern Conference and Rose in a category of his own. I have them in the top three. I think its them and Miami and Boston, and Orlando, as far as right there, too. I think the big thing is how those guys blend together, now that they have them all and whether over the long haul, their perimeter shooting is going to be enough when they go against Boston and teams that really pack it in, said the Wizards coach. Rose is probably the most improved player in the league, how hes played. I think hes given more to their team than anybody in the league. If I had a vote for MVP, thats the guy that Id pick.

Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at: @CSNBullsInsider.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

New teammates, new changes put Jimmy Butler at ease

New teammates, new changes put Jimmy Butler at ease

The earrings were gleaming from Jimmy Butler’s ears, as he was his usual-disarming self with a playful smile and wink during his question-and-answer session with the Chicago media.

At a point, he took a deep breath as he looked around the Advocate Center with some of his new teammates walking around, some of whom had to carry nameplates because they weren’t recognizable faces in this new setting.

And because new faces are in town, it means two things: some faces left town and for Butler’s sake, the new ones will only know him as “Jimmy Butler, All-Star”, not the guy who was a late first-round pick, not the player who couldn’t get off the bench.

Butler didn’t bring up his comfort level, but when asked, he didn’t deny things appear to be a bit easier this time around.

“Does it make me feel more comfortable? I mean, to an extent, yeah, because then you can never say how you may have think that I’ve changed,” Butler said.

Butler’s ascension rubbed some the wrong way last season, and it’s been spoken about ad nauseam, whether it was true or not. But the moment of honesty wasn’t so much a shot at Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah, who departed for the Knicks in various forms; however it was an admission to his level of security, one that perhaps can lead to a more peaceful existence with all the core pieces.

The one way he’s always lead and will always speak to, is by example and work ethic. It’s one that turned him into an All-Star and Olympian.

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“I think everybody that’s on this roster now just knows how hard that I’ve worked to get to this spot that I’m at,” Butler said. “They’ve seen it. They’ve witnessed it. All they’ve been around for me is this point of my career. I don’t know if it sounds bad. But I think that all these guys look at, ‘If Jimmy works like that and if I work like that, I’ll be in the same position that he’s in.’ I’ll be more than happy to let you have that position because I think hard work can get you anywhere that you want to get to.”

So with that, Butler volunteered himself to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, to be the sacrificial lamb of wrath if need be. Easy to say if he doesn’t actually believe Hoiberg is capable of going from nice guy to madman at a moment’s notice but Butler laid it out for the record.

“I told Fred, ‘As much as you can, use me as an example. I want you to really get on my tail about every little thing.’,” Butler said. “Because if Doug or Tony or whoever it may be is watching coach talk to me like that, it’s going to be like, ‘If he can talk to Jimmy like that, I know he’s going to come at me a certain way.’ That’s what I try to remind him every day. I think he’s ready for that. I’m a player. I’m coachable like everybody else. I want that. I need that.”

The additions of Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo add championship receipts to a locker room that needs it, considering the Bulls want to play their young pieces. Wade and Rondo, the Bulls privately believe, will help Butler deal with everything that comes with a new role of leadership — and by proxy, Butler’s relationship and expectations of Hoiberg.

“He was put in a position last year he wasn't familiar with and I think we'll see growth from it,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “The great thing about Jimmy is you know he comes in each and every day and gives 100 percent. He gets better every year and I think we'll continue to see that growth in his game and him as a person. I think that experience with USA basketball was real positive for him.”

Whether the trio lives up to the “Three Alphas” nickname remains to be seen, but after having a locker room with too many low-pitched voices, perhaps the change in pace — any change in pace — will be a welcome one for Butler.

“The Alpha thing, I think we’ll be just fine. Everybody is going to have something to say,” he said. “As long as everybody is listening and is willing to take some criticism if you’re doing something wrong, just like if you’re doing something right I’m going to tell you, there’s good and bad in everything you do. At the end of the day, as long as we win games, it won’t matter.”

Bulls' Jimmy Butler wants tough coaching from Fred Hoiberg this season

Bulls' Jimmy Butler wants tough coaching from Fred Hoiberg this season

 

Much was made of the Jimmy Butler-Fred Hoiberg dynamic last year.

As the duo head into Year 2 together with a very different Bulls roster, Jimmy Butler was very clear about one thing he wants out of his coach this season.

“I told Fred, ‘As much as you can, use me as an example,’” Butler said during the team’s media day on Monday. “I want you to really get on my tail about every little thing because if Doug (McDermott) or Tony (Snell) or whoever it may be, if watching coach talk to me like that he’s going to be like ‘If he can talk to Jimmy like that I know he’s going to come at me a certain way.’ So that’s what I try to remind him everyday. I think he’s ready for that. I’m a player. I’m coachable like everybody else, but I want that. I need that.”

Butler’s show of confidence in his coach didn’t stop at his belief that Hoiberg could follow through on Butler’s desire to be coached hard. The All-Star believes Hoiberg has improved as a coach heading into his second year on the job.

“It was his first year last year and I think he studied himself and us and the way we were up and down in so many areas of the game last year,” Butler said. “He’s trying to correct it. That’s just like anybody going into the offseason. He didn’t just not work. He studied and got better at what he needed to get better at. I think he’s ready moving forward.”