Hard work this off-season pays off for Butler in summer league debut


Hard work this off-season pays off for Butler in summer league debut

LAS VEGAS After being deprived of a summer league heading into his rookie season due to the NBA lockout, Jimmy Butler made the most of his Sin City professional debut Tuesday night. The second-year swingman scored 25 points in an impressive, assertive fashion he drove to the hole relentlessly and was awarded for his aggression, as he got to the free-throw line 12 times, making 10 attempts from the charity stripe in the Bulls loss to the Celtics but more importantly, he reaped the benefits of his hard work.
Even during his debut campaign, Butler was lauded by teammates and coaches alike for his diligent workout routine and with mentor Ronnie Brewer, waived by the Bulls and sharpshooter Kyle Korver in Atlanta, hes now earmarked for a significant role as a backup wing on a team that doesnt have any other options on the roster behind incumbent starters Rip Hamilton and Luol Deng. Thats likely to change as the Bulls continue to search for free-agent options, but Butler will certainly factor into the rotation next season, especially if he continues to make steady progress.
I was just trying to stay aggressive and by me being aggressive, hopefully my teammates could take after that and start to be aggressive, too. I feel like if you play nervous and I was, too, at some point in time but I tell them its basketball. Youve been doing this for however many years youve been playing. This is what you love to do, so go out there and play, and play hard, Butler said after Tuesdays game. I feel like this is what I have to do. I have to lead by example and if Im calm and Im playing basketball hard, then my teammates are going to play basketball hard. Yeah, Im second year, still a rookie kind of, but I feel like Im kind of the vet on this team, so Ive got to lead and by leading, if thats taking over games, Ive got to try to do that, get to the line.
Perhaps even more significantly, Butler showed signs of being a leader on the floor, something he took from the likes of Brewer and is already trying to pass on to teammates, such as first-round draft pick Marquis Teague, who had an admittedly rough NBA debut.
Just to get my confidence up in every part of my game and learn how to be a better leader, and show Marquis the ropes. I think thats the biggest thing for me, like Ronnie and all those guys did for me. They took me underneath their wing and I just want to be able to do that for Marquis, Butler explained.
I think were going to be all right. Were getting a feel for each other, for each others game. Its different in practice than it is in a game, so when you get out there, youve got to know what guys are going to do. We got the feel of that this game, but overall, I think in the first half, we let them do whatever they wanted to doshoot open jumpers, not guarding the ball tough enoughand thats why they got up 20, but then when we started playing Chicago Bulls basketball, we cut it down to a pretty marginal lead.
Among those closely observing Butlers performance were Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Gar Forman, both of whom liked what they saw.
Hes had a great summer. Hes been living in the gym and the weight room. Just very focused, working hard every day and Im looking forward to watching him all week, but even in that first half, I think you can see hes making progress, gaining confidence, Forman told CSNChicago.com at halftime. I dont know how itll play out, but hes got an opportunity. I think hes close to making the most of the opportunity and even when he got minutes last season, hes a very good defender, tough, hard-nosed kid and I think hes been really working on his offensive skill, working on his shot quite a bit, so hes got a great opportunity in front of him and hes poised to take advantage.
Cautiously added Thibodeau: Theres a long way to go. This is a first step. Hes worked hard this summer. Hes got to make more progress, but hes coming along nicely and well see how it goes from there.
Thibodeau wouldnt make any assurances about Butlers regular-season role, but acknowledged that the Texas native has an opportunity, if he follows the coachs noted step-by-step methodology.
Everything is based on performance, so theres a lot of things that hes capable of doing, he told CSNChicago.com. Hes got to continue to work hard all summer, play well here in the summer leaguethats the next stepand come back, continue to work hard the rest of the summer, then play well in the fall and well go step by step. But playing time is something thats earned.
As far as the present, however, working in Butlers favor is the fact that Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin is the head coach of the summer-league team. Griffin works with most of the Bulls wing players and Butler was his pet project last season.
Jimmy, obviously you can tell he was more seasoned than most of those guys out there, said Griffin. Hes our horse, hes our go-to guy. Hes worked hard, he looked good. He still has a lot of work ahead of him.

'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10


'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10

On Friday ESPN revealed that the next film in their award-winning 30 for 30 series will focus on the life of former Bull and Hall of Fame forward Dennis Rodman. 

The film—which is titled "Rodman: For Better or Worse" will detail Rodman's journey to becoming a Hall of Famer and five-time NBA Champion. The documentary will detail Rodman's difficult upbringing in Dallas, his dominant run at Southeastern Oklahoma State and his development into one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history. 

While Rodman is no doubt one of the greatest talents in NBA history, he is just as famous for his intriguing and oftentimes shocking off the court exploits. Rodman: For Better or Worse will discuss Rodman diving into international diplomacy issues and all of the deeper reasons behind him becoming the interesting character that we know him as today. 

The documentary will feature interviews from former teammates and coaches of Rodman's, including Bill Laimbeer,  John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, and Phil Jackson. 

Rodman: For Better or Worse will be directed by Todd Kapostasy. 

Kapostasy is a seven-time Emmy Award winner. He wrote and directed 2016 documentary 'Confessions of a Cubs Fan: A Century of Waiting', which focused on the idea that winning isn't everything in sports amid the backdrop of the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series.

“Rodman: For Better or Worse” released on September 10, at 8 p.m. CT

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Coby White becomes first rookie in NBA history to understand his NBA2K rating

NBA 2K20

Coby White becomes first rookie in NBA history to understand his NBA2K rating

It's that time of the year when every fan and player loses their mind over arbitray video game ratings that mean nothing.

That is, unless you're Coby White.

The rookie found out his rating for NBA 2K20 in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday and, much to the delight of this author, was pleased with his 76 rating.

"It's solid," White told Ronnie 2K. "Everybody be wanting their grade to be higher than what it is but I haven't played a game in the league yet so I understand why it's a 76. But I feel like after the season it'll be higher."

White said he hopes he can get his rating up to at least an 80 by the end of the season. Bulls fans would be pleased with that development, too.

White also said he was happy with his likeness in the game, which you can check out below.