Jimmy Butler calls out Bulls teammates for poor effort
On many nights, the Chicago Bulls look like nothing more than The Jimmy Butler Show, and frankly, Butler has had enough of it.
Butler, who is leading the team in points and minutes per game while also serving as the anchor of their defense, put his teammates on blast Monday for a perceived lack of effort.
Speaking with reporters after practice, three days after a 106-94 defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, the reigning NBA Most Improved Player was blunt.
“I don’t think we bring that fight every single night,” Butler said per Joe Cowley of the Chicago-Sun Times. “I think we’re starting to get back to that, but early on we weren’t the hardest-playing team every night. We always need to and have to be the hardest-playing team. I just think that at times we take for granted how talented we are as a whole and with all the guys upon this roster.
“We think we can come out and just go through the motions at the beginning of a game, dig ourselves a little hole, and think we can just pick it up at any point and time,” he continued. “It just doesn’t work like that.”
The Bulls have opened up the season 8-4, a solid start for a team making the transition from long-time head coach Tom Thibodeau to former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg. But they often take entire possessions off defensively and stand around on offense idly waiting for Butler or Derrick Rose to create, which could be part of Butler’s frustration.
For a team that continually fails to get over the hump in the Eastern Conference despite one of the deepest rosters in the league on paper, the 26-year-old Butler’s criticisms ring true, especially since they no longer have the fiery Thibodeau to whip them into shape.
As Butler begins to come into his own as a true NBA superstar, being a vocal leader in the hopes that his team will finally perform to its ceiling is paramount, and that seems like exactly what he’s doing here.