2011 Archives http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/table/2011-articles/june/ Wed, 24 May 2017 09:56:38 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb The Rise of Jimmy Butler http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/the-rise-of-jimmy-butler.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/the-rise-of-jimmy-butler.html In his senior year of high school in Tomball, Texas, Jimmy Butler was ranked 37th.

Not in the country.  Not at his position.  The 37th best basketball player in Texas. 

Today, he’s the 30th player taken in the NBA draft. 

Butler came to Marquette as the first recruited player by new Head Coach Buzz Williams.  Williams had developed a relationship with Butler when he was recruiting his Tyler Junior College teammate Joseph Fulce. 

As a sophomore at Marquette, Butler was the sixth man, playing behind future NBA players Wes Matthews, Lazar Hayward and Jerel McNeal.  Butler’s versatility helped him gain minutes, as he could play on the wing or inside.  More importantly, he gained minutes by his tenacity on the defensive end. 

Offensively, Butler was a work in process.  His jumper wasn’t very good, and he knew it, so he never shot the ball.  He would frequently pass up open jumpers, and would rather slash to the rim, with or without the ball.

Butler averaged 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 51% from the field and 77% from the line.  Of Butler’s 196 points that season, 194 of them came from inside the paint or at the free throw line.

Entering his junior year, Butler improved his mid-range game, as the second option for the Golden Eagles, following the departure of Matthews, McNeal and Dominic James.  Marquette would play small, often featuring a lineup of the 6’6’’ Hayward at the 5 spot, and Butler at the 4 and three smaller guards.  Butler could rebound well enough, defend well enough and score when Williams stressed “paint touches.” 

Butler became the go-to-guy down the stretch for MU, as he hit two game winners on the road in the Big East.  The first came in Storrs, vs. UCONN.  With 3.6 seconds left, Butler created his own shot, a fade away in the corner, which clinched a win for the Golden Eagles, who were on the NCAA tournament bubble.  Two weeks later, the Butler did it again, making the #1 play on SportsCenter’s top 10, as he lost the ball mid-air, gathered, spun and swished a jumper at Rutgers. 

He finished second in the Big East for most improved player, with averages of 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 53% from the field and 77% from the line. 

Going into his senior season, he was the guy.  He had to grow up quick, become the captain and the senior leader that the team needed.  Growing up quick was never a problem for the 20 year-old senior. 

As you might have heard, Jimmy Butler went public with his story of being homeless at age 13.  His mother kicked him out of the house, and he floated around his friends’ homes until he found a stable home.  The Leslie family brought him in at 17, right as he was finishing high school.

Butler’s senior night, he invited his new family to Milwaukee.  Few at MU knew the story of Jimmy Butler, and he didn’t want it to be known.  He asked several media outlets not to write the story for people to feel sorry for him, as his story has shaped who he is today.

Butler ended his senior year with averages of 15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds while learning to shoot from three (34.5%) and getting to the line 7 times per game.  His 30 point game vs. Cincinnati at home was his career high.  He twice shut down Kemba Walker, twice shut down Marshon Brooks, shut down Ben Hansbrough, all while carrying the load offensively for MU. 

K.C. Johnson had a tweet after the Bulls drafted Butler – “I don’t know how good of an NBA player he’s going to be.”  Everyone around him knows how good he's going to be.  No, he won't be a superstar.  He probably won't even be Wes Matthews, but would you bet against him, considering what he's been through?

For those that know his story, and his work ethic, he’s ready for the NBA.  This is just another challenge that Butler is more than willing to conquer. 

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) June Fri, 24 Jun 2011 16:42:13 +0000
UPDATED Bulls Rumors - NBA Draft Eve http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/bulls-rumors-nba-draft-eve.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/bulls-rumors-nba-draft-eve.html
Things are quiet because the Bulls really aren't in a position to do much.  They want to keep the core together, which is smart.  They don't need to make a splash, since they just won 62 games.  But, the Bulls can make themselves better on draft night.

8:06 AM 6/23/2011

Did the Bulls kick the tires on Lamar Odom?

A recent conversation between the Warriors and Lakers centered around Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown going to Golden State for Ellis, but those talks went nowhere, sources said. The Bulls would become involved if they were willing to part with Joakim Noah, and Chicago executives have consistently balked at including him in trade talks for the past year -- mostly due to the base-year compensation factor in the five-year, $60 million extension he signed last year. CBSSports.com

I don't think the Bulls are foolish enough to part with Noah for Odom.  Where would Odom fit on this roster? 

But I do like any talk that surrounds Shannon Brown.  I talked a lot about him last year, and thought the Bulls should give him a look at the end of FA.  He's developed into a really good shooter, plays solid defense and has good ball handling skills.  He's a free

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6:50 CT 6/22/2011

Bulls Trying to Move Up?

Alex Kennedy: The Chicago Bulls are trying to package their two first-round picks - #28 and #30 - to move up. They're talking to a few teams in the teens. Twitter

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6/20/2011

Vinsanity in play for Bulls?

The Suns have long been expected to buy out Vince Carter's $18.3 million final season for $4 million. Which could give Carter the chance to answer the question of whether he ever really wanted to try to be a winner. Or just score points. The Bulls will be one of the teams likely interested in Carter if he is bought out — similarly with Richard Hamilton, who is less likely to be bought out because he has two years left on his contract. The Bulls will be over the salary cap, so they cannot offer Carter more than a minimum deal.Currently, there is a mid level exception, which most don't expect to survive the new collective bargaining agreement. So would Carter come to the Bulls for a minimum when he can make much more, though with a lesser team? The advantage the Bulls have is they can offer a starting job. Of course, Dallas likely could, as well, on a minimum deal. The Heat could not. NBA.com


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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) June Wed, 22 Jun 2011 23:42:33 +0000
Mock Draft - Slam Dunk Central http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/mock-draft-slam-dunk-central.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/mock-draft-slam-dunk-central.html here. 

My picks were different - everyone that I thought the Bulls might take was gone, with the exception of Jimmy Butler.  Interestingly enough, the Bulls did work out Butler once in Chicago.  

I don't have any inside information on the draft, but I do like one thing Gar Forman said about the process.  He stressed taking the best player available, and I completely agree.   Even though the NBA has a smaller pool of players, I disagree with drafting for need.  At this point, we all know the Bulls needs are 2G, 2G, 2G.  

Back in 2009, the Bulls selected James Johnson in the first round.  Jrue Holiday was rated the better player by everyone, but the Bulls had Derrick Rose, reigning Rookie of the Year.  We basically moved down 15 picks, two years later instead of taking Holiday.  Even if the Bulls couldn't use Holiday, you could move him for a need.  

So that brings us to now, and the Bulls haven't traded up.  I wouldn't mind trading up to get anyone that falls.  Word is that Kemba Walker is falling in the lottery.  If the Bulls can trade up and take him, do it.  Forget about the issue that Walker is small and probably a point guard at this level - you take him, play him off the bench, and trade him later for a starting shooting guard.  
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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) June Wed, 22 Jun 2011 23:15:37 +0000
Gar Forman: “Boozer had a very good year for us” http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/gar-forman-boozer-had-a-very-good-year-for-us.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/gar-forman-boozer-had-a-very-good-year-for-us.html Gar Forman was on ESPN 1000 today and had nice words for his starting power forward, Carlos Boozer. 

"I thought Carlos had a very good year for us," Forman said. "When you look at the numbers during the season, he was 18 points, 10 rebounds, shot over 50 percent from the field.

“I thought he was a big part of the success we had winning 62 games and finishing with the best record in the league.”

Was he?

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) June Mon, 13 Jun 2011 20:16:47 +0000
Bulls Draft Update http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/bulls-draft-update.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/bulls-draft-update.html the first post we wrote.
 
Let's look at shooting guard first.  SG's that will be off the board by pick 28 are - Klay Thompson, Alec Burks and Marshon Brooks.  It's not a deep 2G class.  So who are the legit options for the Bulls?

SG - Charles Jenkins - SR. Hofstra
Jenkins, a four-year star at Hofstra, absolutely exploded his last two seasons.  He averaged 22.6 points per game on 51.7% shooting, 42% from three and 82% from the line as a senior.  The 6'3'' 220 lb New York product can score, and has the jumper that the Bulls could use.  He does most of his damage by creating his own shot, but that's a product of the Hofstra offense and his competition.  He has a quick first step, and creates a lot of space for shots.  One thing he might lack is the explosiveness, but that's because he looks under control for the most part. Defensively, he is undersized, but at 220, he could develop the strength to help himself out.  

SG/SF - Tyler Honeycutt - SO. UCLA
The first thing you notice about Honeycutt is that he has the body type of Kevin Durant.  Unfortunately, that's the only thing you can compare to Durant.  Honeycutt is still a little raw, but has so many tools and skills that the Bulls would be foolish to pass on him.  The skill that will attract the Bulls is his defense.  At 6'8'' with a long wingspan, Honeycutt can get his hand in passing lanes and helps him block shots.  He led the Pac-10 in blocks this season, and rebounds really well at his position.  Honeycutt has great form on his jumper, and with time and practice, he'll become more consistent.  The issues come from his A/T ratio, which is 2.8 to 3.0.  Also, his ball handling leaves a lot to be desired.  He won't break anyone's ankles.  He's more of a slasher/spot-up player than an isolation player.  I think Honeycutt can contribute right away, but I think he's has a higher ceiling than Jenkins.

Now let's look at some stretch forwards.  In a dream scenario, the Bulls take Honeycutt and then Nikola Vucevic.  Vucevic is having a great camp, so he's probably not going to be around.  So we'll look at others that the Bulls have been linked to.

PF - Justin Harper - SR. Richmond
It might be too strong to call him a poor man's Derrick Williams, but that's what he played like in college.  The senior improved all four years at Richmond, and became a strong NBA prospect when he developed a consistent outside shot.   Harper shot 45% from deep, while averaging 18 points per game.  Harper is fluid, can handle the ball, and moves around the floor like a guard.  He's been compared to Durant, but in a way that he does everything for his college team.  Oh, and he's 4% body fat.  I think he's being severly underrated in this draft, and if the Bulls can nab him, it would be a great pick.  If Chicago loves Taj Gibson, they'll love Justin Harper.

PF - JaJuan Johnson - SR. Purdue
I wasn't a big fan of Johnson until his senior year, when him and Moore carried the Boilermakers to the tournament and to a 3-seed.  He added a mid-range jumper, improved his free throw shooting, added bulk and started to take over games.  He's similar to Taj in that you don't throw it to him in the post, but he can spread the floor.  Defensively, he's a lot like Taj - he can block shots.  Unlike Taj, I question Johnson's toughness.  If he doesn't get more physical, he will be a liability on the glass.  He's not a good enough shooter to sit on the perimeter, either.  Still, he would give the Bulls another dimension. 

The NBA holds the draft on June 23, 2011.  Hopefully it's not filled with lockout talk like the NFL draft was this year.

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) June Thu, 09 Jun 2011 03:29:02 +0000