Jimmy Butler wants to make sure Derrick Rose — and Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson and… — are healthy for the playoffs, not games close to Thanksgiving.
Why? Because he believes the Bulls are title contenders. Fervently believes. This is another nugget from a fantastic Butler profile by Sam Amick of the USA Today.
When asked last week if this is a championship team, even with the recent rash of injuries, Butler told USA TODAY Sports, “Hell yeah, it’s a championship team. We’re going to win that (expletive).”
First, I want a player on any team anywhere close to contending to think that. Good on Butler.
Second, he’s right.
The Bulls are 8-5 right now and the three seed in the East. The Raptors and Wizards will be good, Cleveland likely will figure out their offense (but there are questions about their defense), there is not going to be that easy a route out of the East.
But a healthy Bulls team has a legit shot to make the Finals (whether they can beat the best out of the West is another discussion). What the Bulls understand is that right now is about process and building the scaffolding to really construct a team that can go that deep. Yes, they need healthy bodies and time on the court to do that, but it doesn’t have to happen today. It’s about not making injuries worse or taking unnecessary risks.
Plus, the Bulls have their identity, they know who they are. That high powered team on Lake Erie has a ways to go to figure theirs out.