Jimmy Butler slams Bulls' lackadaisical effort
Say what you want about the Tom Thibodeau-led Chicago Bulls, but they never had an issue with effort.
The hard-working, loud-screaming spirit of Thibodeau lives on in former pupil Jimmy Butler, who called out his team for its lessened effort on Monday.
"I don't think we bring that fight every single night," Butler told reporters after Monday's practice. "I think we're starting to get back to that, but early on we weren't the hardest-playing team every night. We always need to and have to be the hardest-playing team."
He added, "I just think that at times we take for granted how talented we are as a whole and with all the guys upon this roster."
Despite some questionable effort, the Bulls hold the fourth-best record in the East at 8-4 under first-year coach Fred Hoiberg. They might actually be too talented to fail, although their measly point differential of plus-1.1 is hardly comforting.
Whatever slippage in effort they've experienced hasn't seemed to affect the team's defense, which remains as solid as ever (they rank sixth by defensive rating).
Instead, it might be affecting their offense, which is only producing 98.9 points per 100 possessions (a bottom-10 rate) - perplexing given the surplus of talent on their roster.
Nevertheless, a lack of focus is never a good sign, and Butler believes his team needs to find some consistency in terms of effort.
"We think we can come out and just go through the motions at the beginning of a game, dig ourselves a little hole, and think we can just pick it up at any point and time, and it just doesn't work like that."