Jimmy Butler scores 40 in loss but still has point-guard dreams
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Jimmy Butler talks too much.
Just ask him.
So while he’s more than willing and able to take over the Bulls’ full-time point-guard duties, that’s not a discussion he’ll have with coach Fred Hoiberg. Not yet, at least.
Now, if Hoiberg wants to sit down and discuss it . . .
“Hell, yeah, I’ll do it,’’ Butler said. “That’s not saying I’m [a point guard], but I think that if that’s what my team and my coach need me to do, I definitely think I can handle it.’’
But Butler hasn’t forced the issue.
“I think at times I talk too much,’’ Butler said. “So sometimes I need to be quiet, let Fred do his job, and I’ll do mine. Just play basketball. But if sometime soon I think I need to finally speak up in that department and let him know we need to do this, sure, why not.’’
The point-guard spot has been a turnstile most of the season.
Wednesday was no different, as Jerian Grant made his second consecutive ineffective start in the Bulls’ 119-114 loss to the Hawks at the United Center. Butler scored a game-high 40 points, and Dwyane Wade chipped in 33, but point-guard talk was still in the air.
Grant, who had five points, is the third Bull to earn an audition.
Rajon Rondo was the starting point guard at the beginning of the season, but that only lasted till the end of December, when the Bulls decided to go with Michael Carter-Williams.
After the victory Saturday against the Kings, Hoiberg wanted to change things up again, letting Carter-Williams know he was out and Grant was in as the starter.
Hoiberg said the main reason was Grant’s ability to be more of an outside threat. Grant hasn’t shown much of a perimeter game in either start, but Hoiberg at least likes the idea of it.
That’s another reason Butler isn’t looking to rock the boat.
“Right now, we’re going to go with this lineup that we have,’’ Butler said. “Let’s ride it out for now.’’
Playing point guard would not be new for the 6-7 Butler.
He’s basically the Bulls’ point guard in the fourth quarter.
When Hoiberg was asked why he just doesn’t make Butler the full-time point guard, he said a big reason is he doesn’t want Butler — who plays almost 37 minutes a game anyway — to carry the extra burden of having to bring the ball up the court. Butler didn’t consider that a big deal.
“Come on, I mean if [the opposition] wants to put a guy on the ball and try to wear me out, I feel like I do a lot of running anyway,’’ Butler said. “I condition myself well enough to where I can ‘be tired’ but still do what I’m supposed to do.’’
Plus, Butler is quick to remind everyone of last season. He was the full-time starting point guard for four games at the end, averaging an eye-popping 21.5 points, 10.3 assists and 9.3 rebounds and leading the Bulls to a 3-1 record.
Those are James Harden-type numbers that still have Butler smiling.
“Exactly, and I like that,’’ Butler said of the Harden comparison. “I got the ball in my hands early, so I can find guys or I can go get my own. I feel comfortable in that role.
“I really would do it.’’
What say you, Fred?