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Jimmy Butler ready to fight for starter’s job that’s already his

Aug 6, 2013, 3:02 PM EDT

Jimmy butler Getty Images

Jimmy Butler is the Chicago Bulls starting two guard.

He started 20 games for the Bulls last season then every game in the playoffs. In the offseason, coach Tom Thibodeau has said Butler is the team’s starting two guard, lined up next to Derrick Rose in the backcourt.

Butler himself doesn’t see it that way.

He told NBA.com he still has to earn it.

“I feel like I’m not a starter yet,” said Butler following a workout at the Berto Center last week. “The season isn’t here yet and I still need to work my tail off for the rest of the offseason, go into training camp, play hard and do what I’m supposed to do. Coach Thibs and the management will do whatever they think it takes to help us win. Whether that means me as a starter or coming off the bench, whatever it may be, I’m comfortable with it. I just want to win games.”

You have to like that attitude.

The job is his, he earned it in the playoffs when he averaged 13.3 points a game, shot 40 percent from three and brought good defense every night. Drafted at the very end of the first round out of Marquette, he has proven to be a shrewd pick and another steal for the Bulls.

Butler is enjoying some of the perks of his fledgling stardom — he toured China, he went to the ESPYs where Jamie Foxx came up and introduced himself — but he also talked about spending this summer working on his game.

“I’m working on everything,” said Butler. “My game’s not perfect in any area, so why stop working on one over another? I’m definitely spending time on my three-point shot, because with Derrick back, teams are going to double team him. So we’ve got to be able to open the floor for him. I’m working on some mid-post work, for when I’m going up against a smaller two guard or small forward. You’ve got to be able to score from every point on the floor. And a lot of ball handing, so I can be the secondary ball handler. That’s also important.”

Him taking a step forward will be a big part of the Bulls taking a step forward this season as well. That and the whole healthy Rose thing.

  1. diehardcubbiefan4life - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Love it!!!!!! Gotta love that attitude in our young players. Sorry heat, no three peat for you. Tell me that we wont beat the heat, but you probably already told us we wouldnt get higher than 8th or 7th seed last season without rose. LETS GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • omahakidw - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      The Bulls ? Really ? People of Chicago are all on drugs. The Heat beat them when they went to their first championship round………with Derrick Rose !

      • diehardcubbiefan4life - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:16 PM

        Team has improved greatly since then. More playoff experience for entire roster. And unlike bandwagon heat fans, we root and believe our team will win a championship every season because we are loyal. Not “on drugs” as you claim.

  2. pudgalvin - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    That’s why we love him. I think if he can get that jumper falling on the regular, he could turn into a poor man’s Scottie Pippen. He’s already a great defender and he’s got crazy athleticism, and if he can turn into a consistent offense threat, he’s going to be a really good player in the league.

    • spursareold - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      He’s not crazy athletic, by NBA standards. More like average.

      He NEEDS to do this hard work. People with his same skills and hops bounce out of the league every year. The hard workers will stick.

      • lmoneyfresh - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        You’ve obviously never watched Jimmy play. While he’s not a freak like Griffin, he’s definitely above average in terms of athleticism.

      • cflores60 - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        Jimmy Butler is actually very athletic on the three quarter sprints he got a 3:15 and also recorded a 39 inch vertical john wall got a 3:14 on the three quarter sprints and also recorded a 40 inch vertical only 15 or 16 players have recorded that one of them is derrick rose who got a 3:05 and a 40 inch vertical so that fast backcourt the bulls have will be exciting to watch

      • cflores60 - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        In the league right now

      • spursareold - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        Not by NBA standards. His no step vert is 32. That placed him behind 20+ guys who worked out in 2011, pre-draft. Those are college guys. If you put him in with NBA guys, he’s probably behind 100 guys. Since the league is never more than 450 players, and frequently less, he’s probably somewhere in the 75-80% area. Average, by NBA standards.

      • spursareold - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        “He’s already a great defender and he’s got crazy athleticism…”

        “You’ve obviously never watched Jimmy play. While he’s not a freak like Griffin, he’s definitely above average in terms of athleticism.”

        You’ve stepped on your own argument, btw. “Crazy athleticism” IS being a freak like Griffin, or Iman Shumpert.

        I LIKE Jimmy, but recognize that he’s NOT crazy athletic. That’s not an insult. What he is is a hard working blue collar guy who looks to stick in this league when many guys who get drafted higher bust out. Too many GMs chase that crazy athleticism instead of a guy who can actually play and works hard.

      • pudgalvin - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        When I (not imoneyfresh) said he was crazy athletic, I meant that not only does he have the ability to get there with a lot of the other guys in the league, he also has the strength to finish through the big guys and to not get backed down by the Kobe’s and the Melo’s of the league. He also has really good quickness that helps him on both offense and defense. There’s more to being athletic than being able to jump high.

      • lmoneyfresh - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        You might have a point if I had said that he was “crazy athletic” but I didn’t. That was pudgalvin.

        I’m well aware that Jimmy isn’t in the top tier of athleticism that Griffin is but he’s easily in the top half. Hell, even you even admit that he’s likely in the top 20-25% of the league in terms of athleticism, or, say it with me…above average.

        You seem to want to discount the rest of his ability though.

  3. lmoneyfresh - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    I have no reason to believe that Jimmy can’t get even better next year. If he can shine when teams emphasize shutting down Rose, the Bulls can be scary good.

    • losangelesbillsofbuffalo - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Jimmy Butler is going to be next year’s Paul George. Not in athleticism or overall style of play, but rather in emergence. Combine that with D Rose, top-tier coaching and a rock solid supporting cast, I agree with you, this team has superb potential.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:49 PM

        He’s slightly better than Paul George. Him starting should be a major boost, especially since he’ll replace all of Bellineli’s below average play.

  4. bullsfannotabudman - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Poor man’s Scottie Pippen my big Bulls Butt!?! I love Jimmy Butler, the sky is his only limit! He can have as big an impact as Scottie had. He will deserve to be in the NBA all-star game this season, and he will be in it next season.

  5. ababbie - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    This Guy Jimmy Butler Sucks hes the next Beasley, he has no confidence in his self if he has made it to the league he should be ready to go he does NOT have it in him hes a SCRUB

    • omahakidw - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      I`m a Heat fan, but this guy has a really good game and someone needs to watch this guy. I believe this guy has a huge “upside” !!

  6. bugsygod - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Great kid!

  7. nflcinbengals - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Our Success hinges on you Jimmy Buckets!
    Go Bulls!

  8. Daniel Lawson - Aug 7, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Jimmy has a 39″ vert with a 3.5 3/4 court speed… Rose was 40″ 3.08

  9. 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    How do you not LOVE this guy!!? That attitude, he just became one of my new favorite players!

    Bulls fans have A LOT to be proud of. I really wish them to make it to the Finals to rep the East this upcoming season. That whole team man, that’s what’s up! Just wish they would’ve kept Nate (and to a further extent, Asik).

  10. davidly - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Shades of Skibby MaRue.

  11. unxpexted1 - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    I like Jimmy Butler I really do. But man that lineup is so offensively challenged if they put him at the two. No shooters and no floor spacing. But they will make it a hard to score on them.

    • jfiore86 - Aug 27, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      It was offensively challenged last year because Rose wasn’t there. Look at the stats before Rose got hurt.

  12. dysraw1 - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    JB has big time potential. based on the way he handle his last season, he has a great attitude and does what it takes to put his team in a position to win

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