Previous ArticlesBulls feeling an extra boost in training camp
Rose and Butler backcourt starting to take form
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Oct 2
It wasn’t until last season that Jimmy Butler saw meaningful minutes on a regular basis, so he has yet to truly experience playing alongside Derrick Rose in the backcourt.
That is about to change, as Rose, Butler and the Bulls will play the first of eight preseason games Saturday when they visit the Indiana Pacers.
And both players, who spent a couple weeks together working out in Los Angeles this past summer, are looking forward to it.
For Rose, of course, it’s another step towards his return. He reported no issues following Wednesday’s three-hour practice, saying of his status: “It’s the same. I’m ready. I’m just ready to go out there and play. Every day, I’m getting stronger. I haven’t had any setbacks.”
Calling fatigue his only problem thus far, Rose said he hopes to simply play his game on Saturday, be aggressive, and continue working towards getting into a rhythm.
He admitted it will be also nice to face competition other than his teammates.
“I’m a guy where whoever is on the court, I’m going to go at them,” said Rose said with a smile. “It could be my Mom on the court. She’s gonna get killed. I couldn’t care less. I’m just trying to build that mentality where I don’t care who is out there; I’m going to play the same way.”
As for Butler, Rose has been impressed by his versatility and rebounding. He reported that Butler has been knocking down the open shot throughout training camp, something Rose believes is key to preventing the team’s offense from going stagnant.
“He’s improved so much,” said Rose of Butler. “He’s playing with a lot more confidence. We’re just trying to get him comfortable so that we’re going to allow him to make mistakes. He deserves to be a starter and he deserves to play through his mistakes.
“He’s a guy who plays defense all the time,” added Rose. “He’s one of the best defensive players in the league. He’s going to push everybody to be better, especially on the defensive end where he’s giving all his energy. We need him.”
Butler, meanwhile, has enjoyed every minute of sharing the backcourt with Rose.
“It’s been fun,” acknowledged Butler. “He makes everything so much easier. When you get out in the open floor, he’s putting the ball in the air for highlight plays and he’s finishing himself. It’s crazy because I’ve never really done it before; I’ve just watched. It’s totally different when you’re out there with him.
“He’s always looking to find that open guy,” continued Butler of Rose. “If he can’t finish at the cup or get a pull up jumper out of it, he’s going to get it to the right guy.”
The extra attention opposing defenses will certainly give to Rose, a magnet for double teams particularly in the postseason, could create more opportunities for Butler to get clean looks at the basket.
“It sounds easy, but you’ve still got to knock down the shot,” said Butler.
Rose’s long awaited return to action gets closer by the day. And while he himself is excited for that moment, so are his teammates.
“With him suiting up on Saturday, you’ll see a smile on his face,” said Butler. “But you’ll also see a smile on each and every one of ours.”
HINRICH AND NOAH SIT OUT A SESSION
Tom Thibodeau said that Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah sat out Wednesday’s session due to “overall soreness.” But neither player is expected to miss any additional time.
“This time of year, we want to make sure all the nicks are taken care of,” said Thibodeau. “They both are feeling a lot better today after a day off [on Tuesday]. We just thought another day was the smart thing to do.”
BULLS WAIVE CHRISTOPHER AND LUCAS
The Bulls announced that the team waived Patrick Christopher and Kalin Lucas, leaving the roster at 16 players.
Audio—Bulls guard Derrick Rose meets the media following practice at the Berto Center (10.02.2013):
Audio—Bulls guard Jimmy Butler meets the media following practice at the Berto Center (10.02.2013):