Bulls

Is Brewer ready for the starting role?

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Is Brewer ready for the starting role?

We all know that the Bulls are in need of and should pursue a shooting guard, but what about Ronnie Brewer?

Brewer wants a shot at the starting role, considering he showed up to training camp healthier than last year when he suffered with a sore hamstring.

"Last year, I was a little unhealthy," Brewer told the Chicago Tribune. "Not that I felt like it changed the season because I feel we had a great season and Keith (Bogans) did a phenomenal job, and I did pretty well with the role I had. But now no matter who they bring in or if they bring Keith back, it's going to be a fight in training camp. We're going to push each other and make each other better at that two spot."

But Brewer wants to be No. 1. Can he handle it? He played a big part in the Bulls' bench mob, but what are his numbers like? Not too far off from his fellow guards.

Brewer averaged 6.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game last season. Bogans averaged 4.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists while Kyle Korver averaged 8.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

See why we need to upgrade?

Whether Tom Thibodeau thinks he can handle it or not, Brewer is going to put up a fight.

"Whatever we've got to do to win, I'm all about that," he told the Chicago Tribune. "But me as a player, I've got to do everything I possibly can to put myself in a situation where I can go out there and contribute. "

This is when we dip into his free agent competition. The Bulls are ready to shop and Brewer will have to work hard to match up to the possible shooting guards available.

Restricted free agent Arron Afflalo averaged 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 42 percent from the arc. Then we go to Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Marcus Thornton who averages 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists, shooting 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from the arc.

Already looking better...

Jason Richardson and Caron Butler are also options but Butler, who was at the Berto Center with the Bulls Thursday, is coming off knee surgery. He averaged 15 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists, shooting 45 percent from the field and 43.1 percent from the arc.

It's a nice wish, but I feel like Brewer may need some more time. The Bulls will have their eyes open for players bought out with the amnesty clause such as Brandon Roy, Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon. They'll be bringing in shooting guards the next few days as the free agent frenzy begins Dec. 9.

As for Brewer, "If my number is called, I will be ready," he said. "I feel like Thibs can feel confident wherever he puts me in the game."
Do you think Brewer can handle the starting role? Who do you want to see the Bulls pick up as a shooting guard?

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

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USA TODAY

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

MINNEAPOLIS — That feeling of having your knee buckle out of nowhere, Zach LaVine is all-too familiar with it.

That feeling of being on the sidelines and watching Jimmy Butler’s knee give out, Fred Hoiberg has been there, too.

Different perspectives, and different reactions but Butler’s knee injury produced a sick feeling to many who watched it Friday night. Butler turned to pivot in the Timberwolves’ game against the Houston Rockets and immediately collapsed on the floor, having to be carried off.

LaVine tore his ACL in Detroit over a year ago, while it was revealed Butler suffered a right meniscus injury. But it looked all the same and LaVine understood the uncertainty Butler must’ve been feeling before the MRI revealed it wasn’t an ACL injury.

“It’s scary,” LaVine said following morning shootaround at the Target Center Saturday afternoon. “I wish him the best. You don’t want to see that happen to anybody. Especially a player of his caliber and what he’s done for the team.”

When LaVine injured his ACL, he actually played a few more minutes before being removed and going to the locker room. The time between being evaluated by doctors and them coming back feels like a lifetime.

“It’s scary. You know you hurt yourself, you don’t know how bad,” LaVine said. “You think you’re good, you’re a tough minded person trying to get through it.”

“I saw him on the ground trying to get up, (Rockets guard) Chris Paul made him sit down. Jimmy’s a tough dude. Thoughts and prayers going out to him.”

Butler and LaVine were the centerpieces of the draft day trade involving the Bulls and Timberwolves. With Butler suffering the injury the night before playing his former team a second time, the timing produced a bunch of memories.

In Hoiberg’s first year with the Bulls, Butler went down in a somewhat similar manner in Denver, a non-contact injury. It looked just as bad, and Butler was taken off the floor in a wheelchair.

Thankfully it was a right knee strain that cost him several weeks but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Considering the minutes he’s played over the last few years, Hoiberg was asked if Butler pushes himself too hard to be on the floor.

“Jimmy he wants to be out there,” Hoiberg said. “I remember the first year in Denver, he went down with what looked to be a serious injury. Thankfully he was back on the floor after 15-16 games.”

Actually, Butler missed 11 consecutive games before coming back for a nationally-televised game against the Rockets, playing 34 minutes in a Bulls win and missing the next three games for recovery.

“We really worried when he went down but it wasn’t something that ended his season,” Hoiberg said. “Jimmy’s a worker. He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve seen. It’s a huge reason for the type of player he is, that work ethic to make him one of the elite players in the league.”

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

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USA TODAY

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

Jimmy Butler won't be facing the Bulls a second time this season.

Butler suffered a non-contact knee injury on Friday night in Houston. The initial X-ray only revealed he didn't have any broken bones, but the MRI had to wait until Saturday.

The Timberwolves announced that the MRI revealed a meniscus injury in Butler's right knee. There is not yet word on how long the All-Star guard will be out of action, but if it wasn't already assumed that he wouldn't play against the Bulls, it's now certain.

Avoiding the ACL tear means avoiding the worse case scenario, but this is likely still going to cause Butler to miss a significant amount of time with about a quarter of the regular season remaining.

The Bulls take on the Timberwolves on Saturday night. Butler dropped 38 points at the United Center in his return to Chicago exactly two weeks ago, but the Bulls won 114-113.

Butler posted on Instagram a reaction to the injury.

Saturday's game will be the returns of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn to Minnesota after they went the other direction in the Butler trade on draft night last June.