Jimmy Butler defends Derrick Rose for sitting out season
Jimmy Butler had a breakout series in the playoffs against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but that was the last thing the Chicago Bulls forward wanted to talk about when LBS caught up with him at the Bear Trap Entertainment All-Star Celebrity Kickoff Party at the Playboy Mansion on Monday night.
The second-year player from Marquette saw extra minutes in the postseason with so many of his Bulls teammates hurt, and he delivered. He averaged 13.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals and threes per game during the playoffs.
When asked about his strong series against the Heat, Butler could only focus on the fact that his team lost.
“Stop saying that word, that’s a bad word! We lost, you said that word like three times,” Butler joked.
Butler also showed the mentality of a true team player.
“[I] did OK,” Butler said of his series against the Heat. “For me as an individual it really doesn’t matter because we didn’t win. What’s the goal in basketball? It’s to win as a team. I’d rather win than have a great series.”
The biggest controversy surrounding the Bulls this season was the status of Derrick Rose. The former MVP was expected to return from knee surgery during the season, but he never felt comfortable coming back. His delayed comeback caused anger among impatient fans, but Butler says Rose and the Bulls did the right thing by not forcing a return.
“[Rose] knew what he was doing,” Butler told Larry Brown Sports. “The organization knew what they were doing. They did what was best for the team and what was best for him as a person.”
With Rose, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng unavailable against the Heat, Butler said he felt like he had to step up and fulfill Rose’s role on the team.
“It was tough knowing that the locker room was on my shoulders. I felt like I had a number one on my front and a ‘Rose’ on the back [of my jersey], because that’s how he feels night in and night out. It’s tough, but I guess it’s what you want.”
Rose said this week that he feels 100 percent healthy and will be ready for the start of the season. The Bulls reached the conference finals in 2010-2011, which was the season Rose was named NBA MVP.