Bears

Butler content with defensive-oriented role

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Butler content with defensive-oriented role

CLEVELAND Second-year Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler knows he hasnt fully established himself in the NBA yet. The organizations decision to pick up his third-year option, while a mere formality in league circles,was meaningful to him.
Thats exciting, just another opportunity to be here, do what I love around the teammates that I love, he told CSN Chicago.com prior to the teams Friday-morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena. The Bulls are a great organization. Im extremely blessed and my dreams still going. I just want to keep it going as long as it can.
For now, it appears Butler is locked into a spot in the rotation as the Bulls backup small forward, a job that doesnt come with a lot of extended minutes, given head coach Tom Thibodeaus habit of playing starter Luol Deng for approximately 40 minutes a night.
However, Thibodeau does like Butlers ability on the defensive end and on Wednesday nights season-opening win over Sacramento at the United Center, Butler was used as a situational offense-defense substitute to defend Kings go-to scorer Tyreke Evans.
They posed a number of problems because of the quickness that they had on the floor, particularly in the second half with Isaiah Thomas or Aaron Brooks, and Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans were out there together, Thibodeau explained. I thought Jimmy played hard and did a real solid job for us.
Whether its as a defensive specialist or otherwise, Butler relishes any opportunity to prove he deserves to be on the floor. Furthermore, after an outstanding summer, including a stellar outing at the NBAs summer league in Las Vegas back in July, he wants to show his offensive capabilities, though hes careful not to force the issue as a scorer.
I do like that defensive role. I feel like thats a big part of my game, a big part of what my team wants me to do, so as long as Im out there, Ive got to do whatever Thibs and my team wants me to do, Butler said. Just play simple basketball. Dont make anything too hard or put too much pressure on myself to do any one thing. Just take the offense as it comes and as it goes, if you have an open shot, take it. If you can get to the rim, if you can create for somebody else, do that.

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”