Butler takes the blame, but it is an issue across the roster…
Thibodeau’s relationship with Bulls management beyond repair: Bulls coach has had troubles for years.
Rose says don’t blame Thibodeau: Bulls slumping in recent games.
Bulls GM denies Thibodeau job at risk: Forman insists Thibs is safe.
Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler has insisted that he should be blamed for the team’s drop in defensive play this season, as he has dropped his intensity on that end of the court.
The Bulls ranked in the top 10 in defensive field goal percentage for the past four years, but this season they are ranked 12th so far and while they only gave up 100 points just 16 times last season, teams are averaging 99.9 points against them while they have reached 100 points or more 24 times.
It has been a significant problem area for the team and coach Tom Thibodeau, who has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks despite the front office insisting that his job is safe.
Nevertheless, Butler says that he is to blame for the defensive slump as he ultimately sets the standard when guarding the best player on the opposing team.
“I think it starts with me, to tell you the truth,” Butler told reporters.
“I’m supposed to be this prime-time defender and I don’t think I’ve been holding up my end of the bargain lately. So I think whenever I start kicking it up three, four notches on defense and not worry about offense as much, I think it’ll all turn around.”
The Bulls (30-19) have become a much better offensive team this year which has essentially levelled out against their drop defensively, but if they are to go deeper into the post-season, then they will be fully aware of the requirement to improve.
Chicago finished last in scoring last year with an average of 93.7 points per game while they are averaging 102.2 points this year which is ninth in the league and can be attributed to the added contributions from Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol.
“You have to pick and choose your battles and save your energy for both ends of the floor now. I’m not going to lie, I thought it was going to be easier than it is. But to go on one end and produce and then go on the other end and have to stop the best player on the opposing team is not always an easy task.”
“I have to do it,” he said. “That’s what my team needs me for. So I’m going to do it.”
While Butler can undoubtedly get back to basics and improve on defense, he isn’t the only one to blame and the rest of the team should be ready to follow his lead.