Blogtable: Butler’s desire to lead is __?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Who is the best frontcourt? | Butler’s desire to lead is __? | Christmas Day Gift

VIDEOJimmy Butler reacts after loss to Nets

> Jimmy Butler’s desire to become the leader of the Chicago Bulls is ___.

David Aldridge, Understandable, but a little premature. He had a great season last year, but Chicago still has a lot of guys with pelts whose opinions should be heeded first: Noah and Gasol come to mind. And while Derrick Rose‘s game has deteriorated, and while he’s not the most vocal guy, he still has to have some sway in the locker room. It will be Butler’s team very soon, but a max contract does not automatically make you the team spokesman.

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comUnderstandable, for two reasons. One: Everything Butler has achieved in basketball, he has identified and seized. Having reached All-Star/max-contract status, it seems only logical he would reach next for something intangible and team-focused. Two: Chicago’s roster has a leadership void. Derrick Rose‘s personality meant he would only be a leader-by-example in the best of times, and Rose’s play is a nightly reminder that these aren’t his best of times. Pau Gasol is too centered and mature, maybe, to bring the histrionics that sometimes are required of locker-room leaders. Joakim Noah has been the Bulls’ heart but his role has been diminished, coming off the bench. Unfortunately for the Bulls and Butler, grabbing at leadership rarely works. At its best, it gets bestowed upon someone by ready and willing followers. That hasn’t happened with Butler and this bunch, and it remains to be seen whether it will.

Fran Blinebury, Admirable.  But if you have to say it, you’re not actually getting it done.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comAdmirable. Great. All the positive adjectives. How could there be something wrong with wanting that role? He’s got the credibility on the court to back it up. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some rough moments and it doesn’t mean he has to be the leader, as opposed to one of them. The players will decide whether he is worth following, but trying to assert himself in that job is fine.

Shaun Powell, Ambitious? Look, I like the kid. He’s come a long way, and he’s the best player on the Bulls and perhaps Top 20 in the game. But leadership is new to him; he even admitted as much. Eventually I think he’ll learn how and when to criticize and what buttons to push. He’s going about it clumsy now, but he’s the future of the Bulls and he’ll figure it out.

John Schuhmann, … off to a rough start. The Bulls’ 15-11 record actually belies how mediocre they’ve been. Fred Hoiberg was supposed to improve the offense, but no team has regressed more on that end of the floor. So it’s easy to understand Butler’s frustration. But calling out your coach after a game, when you have other veteran leader types in the locker room, might not be a good look. And Monday’s loss to Brooklyn is a good indication that what he said didn’t exactly galvanize his team and get them on the right track.

Sekou Smith, Righteous. Locker room leadership has been a casualty of the current hoops culture, where guys are always trying to keep the peace and avoid internal conflict at all costs. Listen, a little creative friction in a group dynamic can be healthy, if everyone involved is mature enough to handle the truth. I don’t have a problem with what Butler said, where and when he said it and with him refusing to back down after his words created negative headlines. The Bulls need a leader. They need someone to step into the void and speak on what ails them. Who better than their best player and driving force?

Ian Thomsen,… to be commended and encouraged. He isn’t happy to have just surpassed expectations on his way to earning a big contract. Butler wants everything — just so long as he understands the responsibility of backing up his words with actions, whether on the court or in the locker room with his teammates.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: Misguided? Admirable? Necessary? The thing is, all of those answers may have a bit of truth in them, at least to some degree. Clearly, someone on that team needs to take the lead, as right now they seem to be in a downward spiral that just won’t end. The season is still on the early side, sure, and the Bulls are still four games over .500, but they have the pieces and the defensive ability to be so much more, not a team that loses home games to the Brooklyn Nets. Maybe Jimmy Butler is the man that can lead them to where they need to be.


  1. Karlo Garcia says:

    Early too tell,need more time for Jimmy Butler to be a leader.

  2. Karlo Garcia says:

    Early stages

  3. Karlo Garcia says:

    Early stages- Jimmy Butlers comments was at a wrong time,wrong place.

  4. Karlo Garcia says:

    Early stages-what Jimmy Butler said about calling out his coach is unacceptable or the whole team.

  5. Jdub455 says:

    Bordering from arrogance to premature… As long as they are there, drose and gasol are the leaders while noah is the heart… Butler is definitely their best player but that doesnt mean he is their sole leader…. To call out his coach publicly, although may be out of frustration, was not within the spirit of teamwork and mgmt shld do something about it…

  6. The Voice Of Reason says:

    Give Jimmy B credit – he wants the role and is playing decent enough to be respected (on skill alone). Where the hell do all you blog writers come off wanting a kid to be perfect at leading from the start? Anybody remember Magic and Bird, then MJ when they started really taking on a “leadership role”? Please don’t think I’m comparing Jimmy to these legends but the principle is the same – you gotta start somewhere. Jerry Krause needs to pull Jimmy aside and mentor him to be the vocal leader that D-Rose never was/is – use stories of how MJ grew as a leader for the Bulls.

    Kid is still on a journey (it’s only his 4th season) – he’ll learn (sometimes the hard way) how to lead the team. He has great work ethic and isn’t shy…so let the kid take the lead!

    The real issue is Hoiberg needs to grow up, man up and actually coach the team – pull up players when they need. Bang heads with a couple of the guys – it’s healthy for the growth of the team.

  7. Kobe Jelly bean Bryant says:

    krespino, no need to praise yourself that bad. everyone knows you are tony. merry christmas

  8. Who even said he wants to be the leader? In my opinion, he is the heartbeat of the Bulls, but no the leader. I actually thought the leader of the Bulls was Coach Thibs. And once he got canned, they don’t really have one. This team is imploding and exploding, and quite frankly, I can’t wait until the dust settles.

  9. John says:

    You guys are both idiots.

  10. krespino says:

    Everything in Tony’s comment is spot on. What sports writers said is not even half as valuable or insightful as Tony’s comments. Writers need to see that Butler can not be a leader, under any circumstances; he does not have the personality to command respect from other players; he is immature, he is kind of cheap. Not educated enough or well-raised maybe.
    No way a player calls out the coach publicly like that and there will be chemistry or team spirit or respect in that locker room after now. Butler wanted to draw attention on himself, in a cheap way, be the hero, by throwing the coach under the bus, that is it all. I believe Butler should be punished by the FO seriuosly, warned and told to mind his own business and focus on doing his own job only, whatever the consequences.
    If every 24 – 8 (whatever) player thought he would have the right to come up and call out his coach… the NBA would be a mess.

  11. tony says:

    Jimmy is immature and tearing up the team tbh. If you watched the first round of last years playoffs you can see it went to his head, mouthing to thibs at want point “they cant guard me” and so began that air of him thinking he is better than everyone else in his head. he is delusional. A real leader never has to say he is a leader, the minute you say you are the leader you lose half the team, facts. Jimmy runs around with his buddies from his youth and pays them all a salary and jags off money left and right, i predict he will be broke before it is all said and done. Jimmy is not mature enough to lead a team of grown men to a championship. Period. Thibs kept it in check not with hoiberg being such a weak presence it is out of control.
    The media has fed this beast and jimmy played into it. All the attacks on derrick have taken their toll and his spirit is broken.
    Jimmy is acting like a spoilt child, Pau knows it and thats why he is out of this dysfunction at the end of the year.

    They ran off thibs listing to Dunleavy, Pau and Jimmy, now dunleavy is useless pau is leaving and Jimmy is delusional and going to run hoiberg out.

    Thibs was a great offensive coach and should never have been run off, hoiberg was a mistake.

    • Davud says:

      Jimmy Butler is not a leader. Yes they gave him a max contract. But he’s to immature to lead a team. You never call your coach out to the media. Do that internal. Keep it in house. All Butler is doing is causing a distraction. He’s good and might be the best player the Bulls have. But he’s not ready to be a leader. Butler haven’t been in the league long enough. And I’d still wet behind the ears. Leave the leadership roles to one of the veteran guys. Once D Rose Gasol. And Noah leave. Then you might can become the leader. But right now Butler needs to stay out the spotlight and just play ball.

    • David M says:

      Jimmy Butler is not a leader. He’s nothing but a discration for the team. Just because you got a max contract doesn’t make you a leader. A leader is for a veteran player that has been in the league longer than 4 years and have won a ring. Butler is neither one of them. Gasol or Noah should be the leader. A leader don’t call out his coach to the media. You do it behind close doors. You don’t air out your dirty laundry to the public. Neither Butler or D Rose is a leader. Butler is still wet behind the ears. Butler haven’t even put the work in to be a leader. Just my opinion.