Bulls' Butler thinks he's a point guard, insists there's no beef with Rose

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

On one hand, Jimmy Butler insists there's no controversy with fellow Chicago Bulls backcourt partner Derrick Rose.

On the other, Butler sees himself playing the same position as Rose.

Sam Smith of Bulls.com caught up with Butler at Team USA minicamp earlier this week and spoke to him about reports of friction with Rose, which Butler swiftly dismissed, as he has done on other occasions.

"That was a story everyone wanted to talk about and it worked," Butler said. "Everybody is fine. We just want to win. I laugh at it. I know what's really going on. Everybody doesn't. He knows.

"We're fine. Whenever we win all of this is going right out the window. We start winning at the beginning of the season it's not an issue anymore."

However, Butler considers himself a point guard, like Rose.

"I think I am a point guard," Butler said. "So I've done a heck of a lot of ball screen work, ball handling, getting into the paint and still handling, floaters, all that stuff point guards do. If I get a chance, high pick and roll more.

"I want some triple doubles. I've got to get my handle right so I can pass and get it to guys where they can make shots. I told (Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg). You ask what position I play, I say point guard."

It's tempting to find controversy based on the overlap, but there's no reason to.

Butler and Rose work well as a backcourt tandem. Butler is an elite wing defender with a growing offensive skillset to match. Meanwhile, a fully healthy Rose is an impossibly quick slasher who can get into the paint to collapse the wing at will. They make for an ideal pairing.

While Butler likens himself as a point guard, there's plenty of opportunities for he and Rose to flourish under Hoiberg's system. While coaching at Iowa State, Hoiberg favored a high speed pick-and-roll attack with plenty of side-to-side action. His system will need talented ball-handlers on either side of the court, which afford Rose and Butler to flex their own jurisdiction over the offense.

Moreover, Butler's emergence should ease the workload on Rose's shoulders. Under the previous regime with Tom Thibodeau, Rose posted four straight campaigns with a usage rate topping 30 percent. Given the damage to Rose's knees, it's unrealistic to expect him to maintain that type of workload.

So while there might be rumors circling in Chicago and what appears to be some overlap at point guard, things are just fine.

Bulls' Butler thinks he's a point guard, insists there's no beef with Rose
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