” I am a point guard”.
With those recent words Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler told Bulls.com that he and Derrick Rose will be a force to be reckoned with going forward or he announced to the world that after claiming the mantle of team leader during last seasons playoffs he is now asking for control of the ball and offense.
Here’s what we Know:
In his fourth season Jimmy Butler (22.9 ppg 44.1 fg% 38.9 3pt% ) per Bulls.com, established himself as a first time All-Star and one of the best two way players in the NBA,
Former MVP Derrick Rose is returning after a successful season ( 20.3 ppg 39.6 fg% 34.8 3pt% ) per Bulls.com, and is working to re-establish himself after a history of injuries as one of the top players in the NBA.
It was alleged Derrick and Jimmy did not get along last season and during the playoffs
Jimmy has to this point offered explanations and insist that he and Derrick are ok and will be united in their desire to win a championship.
Derrick has said little to nothing about the alleged rift.
The Bulls hired 1st time head coach Fred Hoiburg to bring together what was described by some as a toxic locker room during last season.
What are the prospects ?
Per distinguished NBA writer Sam Smith in response to Jimmy Butler’s assertion. ” It sounds like a joke for the guy who was supposed to be a small forward replacement for Luol Deng. But having another guard who can handle the ball and allow Rose to play off the ball with Butler’s defensive prowess provides a potentially exceptional and previously unknown element to the Bulls arsenal. ”
This to me sounds like solid analysis however, isn’t it possible for Jimmy Butler to accomplish all of the above from the two guard position ?
Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars were one of the pre-eminent back courts in NBA history as they shared ball handling duties with each being capable of initiating the offense for the Detroit Pistons.
There were times when Isiah would operate from the wing position and move without the basketball, Joe Dumars would do the same depending on match ups and or tactical advantages.
What I find interesting is Joe Dumars never announced to the world first that he is the team leader and then he plays the position of his teams established point guard who just happens to be a league MVP.
On the surface Jimmy Butler’s new found confidence could just be a natural changing of the guard (no pun intended ). However it begs to question, how does Derrick Rose feel about all of this ? Is Derrick in agreement with Jimmy ? Will he abdicate leadership? Should he?
Maybe a review of game six of last years eastern conference finals could prove instructive where Derrick Rose seemingly backed off during the late stages of the game when the Cleveland Cavaliers turned it into a rout.
There were those who theorized that Derrick was giving Butler room to prove he could carry the team, whether he was or not, it was not a pretty sight for a team that returns it’s entire roster for the up-coming season.
The success of the Chicago Bulls this season could hinge on a rookie coach’s ability to forge this group of alpha males into a cohesive unit.