Jimmy Butler emerged as the best player on the Chicago Bulls last year, grabbing the title from Derrick Rose during a dominant season where he made his first All-Star team and was named the league's most improved player.
This season, he's adding leadership to his already long list of duties. It's not because he necessarily wants to, but given the other personalities in place, Butler doesn't feel as though he has any choice.
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“I have to do it,” Butler said. “I think Derrick is the quiet one. Jo is the emotional one. Someone has to be that guy to be calm and lead while still producing at both ends. Easy? Probably not. But somebody has to do it. I have to do it.”
Butler said he never envisioned himself in this role but that he wants to add something to his game every year. He added his contract has nothing to do with it, that there's room for more than one leader and answered “I hope so” when asked if the team is ready to accept him in this role.
“We have a couple of guys who are quiet by nature. And nothing's wrong with that,” Butler said. “Guys lead with their emotions if it's Jo, with their play if it's Derrick and Pau. Pau has won championships. But you need a guy who's going hard every night and is going to back up what he's talking about. And I definitely think it's going to be me.”