It hasn’t been a great week for the Chicago Bulls, especially Jimmy Butler. The Bulls suffered two embarrassing losses, most recently to the putrid Brooklyn Nets. Throughout these losses, Butler publicly voiced his issues with Fred Hoiberg’s coaching style, which didn’t sit well with his teammates. That later fact is apparently nothing new.
As Zach Lowe of ESPN reports, Butler’s rise to stardom and leadership has rubbed some on the Bulls the wrong way, causing chemistry issues.
“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.”
This is a bit surprising, because Butler’s always been pegged as a humble, team-first guy. Then again, he wouldn’t be the first player whose approach and mindset has changed after snaring a large contract. Yet, to blame one player for a team that clearly has multiple issues would be unfair. Derrick Rose’s pedestrian play is as much of a plague as Butler’s apparent bravado.
The Bulls have all the pieces to be an elite team, but they won’t reach that level until they’re cured of these on- and off-court maladies.