Report: Bulls players think Jimmy Butler has become selfish
The Chicago Bulls are off to a relatively slow start this season, and frustration appears to be increasing in the wake of their three-game losing streak.
Does some of that frustration center around Jimmy Butler?
In a lengthy feature about the chemistry issues the Bulls are having in head coach Fred Hoiberg’s first season, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com spent some time detailing how Butler has emerged as Chicago’s best player and an NBA star. Apparently some feel he has not handled his new-found fame all that gracefully.
But his rise has engendered some minor hard feelings within the team. There is a sense that Butler relishes the trappings of stardom a bit too much, and that he doesn’t do enough to support his teammates — as a playmaker or a cheerleader. The Bulls have been unusually vulnerable to infighting when things go bad during a game. They are not a team that socializes together off the floor.
Butler is averaging a career-high 21.5 points per game after signing a max contract over the summer. The late second-round pick was mainly a role player in his first three NBA seasons, and no one expected him to become as good as he has over the past year or so.
Unfortunately, Butler’s emergence as a star has not resulted in consistency for the 15-11 Bulls. It’s unclear if he has helped or hurt the team by publicly questioning Hoiberg’s approach, but this is not the first we have heard about issues within the locker room.
On Monday, Derrick Rose refuted a report that claimed the Bulls lack camaraderie.
Even if the players aren’t best friends off the court, that doesn’t mean they can’t succeed on it. There was bound to be a learning curve with Hoiberg in his first NBA season and Butler taking over as the focal point of Chicago’s offense. Given the rumors that exist about Butler’s relationship with Rose, the Bulls should be accustomed to negative media attention. The only thing that will put a stop to it is winning more games.