Report: Some Bulls resent how Jimmy Butler has handled stardom

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Bulls guard Jimmy Butler is a self-made star.

He rose from a junior college to the Big East to a late first-round pick to an NBA rotation player to the league’s Most Improved Player and an All-Star.

It’s a story to celebrate.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

But his rise has engendered some minor hard feelings within the team. There is a sense that Butler relishes the trappings of stardom a bit too much, and that he doesn’t do enough to support his teammates — as a playmaker or a cheerleader. The Bulls have been unusually vulnerable to infighting when things go bad during a game. They are not a team that socializes together off the floor.

This is a classic case of winning curing all ills and losing exacerbating any problems.

There has been smoke surrounding Butler’s relationship with Derrick Rose. Though Butler denied a beef, there mere discussion could cause his teammates to look at him with more scrutiny. After all, who is Butler to criticize Rose’s work ethic if Butler isn’t doing everything right himself?

But that’s an impossibly high standard in the best of times, and these aren’t the best of times.

Butler has contributed to Chicago’s problems in the short term, publicly calling on Fred Hoiberg to change his coaching style. That might pay off in the long run, but the immediate effect was increasing the perceived turmoil around the team.

It’s important to take a step back and realize where Butler came from. The Bulls drafted him as a rugged wing who’d focus on defense and hustle players and hopefully develop into a reliable spot-up shooter. He’s improved remarkably as a ball-handler and distributor, but passing isn’t his forte. He has more than doubled his assists per possession since his rookie year.

Whatever problems Butler has handling stardom, they don’t show on the floor. He’s one of the league’s best players, because he plays so hard.

Perhaps, there are issues off the court. If so, they’re worth addressing.

It’s a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, but nothing would boost Butler’s standing among his teammates more than winning. But how does Chicago win if its best player – the one who’s speaking loudest publicly – doesn’t command the respect of his teammates?

Boston offense stumbles, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic scores 24 in Magic upset win

Associated Press
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BOSTON (AP) — Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 12 rebounds while the Orlando Magic survived two 3-point attempts by Boston in the closing seconds to beat the Celtics 93-90 on Monday night.

Jonathan Isaac added 18 points and 12 boards for the Magic (2-2).

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics (2-2) with 22 points. Al Horford had 15 and Gordon Hayward 11. Irving and Hayward each missed a 3 in the final seconds. Boston shot 9-of-40 from three on the night and 40.7 percent overall, looking out of sync as they have much of the season (and preseason).

The Celtics, who never led in the game, trailed by at least five points from the midway point of the final quarter until Jaylen Brown nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner, closing it to 89-86 with 71 seconds left.

But Isaac answered with a foul-line jumper on the next possession.

Horford and Irving then had consecutive baskets 32 seconds apart, slicing it to 91-90 with 14.2 seconds to play.

With Boston forced to foul Evan Fournier after Orlando inbounded the ball after a timeout, he stepped to the line and made both free throws with 7.8 seconds left.

Irving then missed his 3 from the right corner, and after Horford grabbed the rebound and fed it out – Hayward’s rimmed out just before the buzzer sounded.

Orlando had pulled ahead by 13 points twice late in the third quarter before Boston closed the period by scoring 10 of the final 12 points to slice it to 75-70 at the break.

 

Watch Stephen Curry get the volleyball set assist from his mom during warmups

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Wherever the Warriors are, home or road, fans are filling the building long before tip-off just to watch Stephen Curry warm up. With good reason, he’s a show even before the ball goes up.

Curry’s mother, Sonya, was courtside for his warmups before the Warriors hosting the Suns. Curry played a little volleyball with her, got a good set, and hit the corner three.

Pretty sure rules prohibit him from doing that during the game, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

Warriors say DeMarcus Cousins making “good progress,” will participate in part of practice soon

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Don’t confuse this with “DeMarcus Cousins is almost back on the court.” The Warriors are going to be CSPAN call-in show host patient in bringing Cousins back, and a return date is still well down the schedule. There is no official timetable.

Cousins is, however, making progress and will be part of some segments of team practice shortly, the Warriors announced Monday.

“DeMarcus continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation program. After spending the last few weeks doing various individual on-court activities and drills, he will, in the near future, be integrated into controlled aspects of team practices, although not scrimmages at this point. Additionally, he will continue with his off-court strength and conditioning program.”

The Warriors want to keep Cousins happy but also know they don’t fully need him yet — they need him in the playoffs as another option to punish switches. Golden State needs Cousins healthy, back in shape, rust off and ready to go in April, but he doesn’t need to be on the court in October, or even by Christmas, to get there. Cousins wants to play, but as a guy looking to get paid next summer, he needs to come back right and show what he can do, not come back too early and damage his stock. It’s a fine line.

The Warriors and Cousins are moving closer to that line, but there is still a long way to go.

Report: Nuggets’ starter Will Barton out 5-6 weeks with surgery to repair groin muscle

Associated Press
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Non-contact injuries can be the worst.

Against Phoenix over the weekend, Denver’s Will Barton went in for a relatively uncontested reverse layup, but as soon as he lands he grabs his hip and goes to the floor in obvious pain. It did not look good.

There wasn’t much in the way of information from the team.

However, a report from Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated gives us more details.

The adductor muscles are traditionally called the groin muscles. It’s a series of muscles that help the hips move and are connected to the thigh.

That’s bad news for Denver, a team off to a fast 3-0 start including a win over Golden State. Barton has averaged 16.5 points per game and five rebounds a night in 27 minutes per game through the first three, and he’s been hot from three shooting 55.6 percent. Expect the defensive-minded Torrey Craig to get the bulk of the minutes with Barton out, but both Juancho Hernangomez and Trey Lyles could see a little extra run as well.