CSN's Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill sat down with shooting guard Jimmy Butler to discuss his recent maximum contract, the leadership role he hopes to take on this year and his relationship with Derrick Rose.
You can watch the interview in the video above. It's transcribed below.
Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill: You said that you want to be more of a vocal leader. Did you sense a void there last year as far as leadership?
Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler: I'm not going to say I sensed a void. I think there can always be more of it. There can never be enough vocal leadership and I have to bring something new to the table, so why not make that my thing for this team? The thing I can bring most is to lead. I have to get better at it - I think we all have to - but that's the first step in me becoming the player I want to be.
Goodwill: Is that a maturity thing or the fact that you have the contract where people are going to pay more attention to you?
Butler: I don't think the contract has anything to do with anything. I think as you grow in this league and you see what guys do in this league - not even like stats-wise - just the way that they pull people along with them to do what they're doing and work as hard as they're working, I think that's the next step in my career is to be able to lead and have people follow in what I'm doing.
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Goodwill: Is it reasonable to consider that there's more room for you to grow as an individual player?
Butler: I hope so, that's my goal. That's why I go in every summer with the same mindset, to get better. I go in every day to get better. And I think if I continue to work as hard as I've been working, why can't I make another jump? Why can't I get more assists, get more points, get more rebounds, whatever it may be? As long as I'm confident in my game, which I am, I think all that will take care of itself.
Goodwill: How much do you and Derrick Rose need each other to get past Cleveland and the rest of the East?
Butler: We need everybody on the floor. I think everybody just puts an emphasis on me and Derrick because (we're) point guard (and) 2-guard spots, the backcourt, whatever you want to call it. But we can't do it by ourselves. I can't. He can't. We have the other three guys on the court for a reason. We have our bench players for a reason. We just have to focus in on whatever it takes to make our team win on any given night. If (Derrick's) hot, get him the ball. If he's feeling it, get him the ball. Same way with Pau, same way with Jo. Me, Niko. It doesn't matter. Doesn't matter how many points anybody scores because at the end of the day the object of the game is to win, no matter if you're scoring two points or 50 points per game, if you win that championship everybody gets that ring, everybody's a winner.
Goodwill: Did that criticism bother you over the summer?
Butler: I don't read it to tell you the truth. I think my agent was like, 'Hey, did you read this?' Or my brother. Man, it has nothing to do with me. I'm in here working. I don't have time to read what people say on the internet. I'm pretty sure multiple times this season I'll be not worth the contract that I just got, I'm not a good player. That's fine. I'll just focus on the people that matter: my teammates, my family and this organization. Those are truly the only opinions that I'll take into mind.