One of the reasons the Bulls were willing to let Ronnie Brewer walk out the door — besides the fact that it saved them millions of dollars — was because management believed Jimmy Butler could effectively replace him.
They may have been right and then some.
The Bulls may be 0-2 in NBA Summer League play, but Jimmy Butler has been fantastic.
In this year’s Summer League debut — a 79-74 loss to the Boston Celtics — Butler led the team with 25 points by going 7-for-16 from the field and 10-for-12 from the line. He also added 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.
Said Butler: ”I was just trying to stay aggressive and by me being aggressive hopefully my teammates would take after that and start to be aggressive too. I feel like if you play nervous — and I was too at some point in time — but I tell them, it’s basketball, you’ve been doing this for how ever many years you’ve been playing, this is what you love to do, so go out there and play hard.”
The Bulls’ second Summer League game — a 96-88 loss to the Houston Rockets — was more of the same. Butler scored 24 points by going 6-for-11 from the field and 11-for-12 from the line. He again grabbed 7 rebounds.
Two games in, Butler is fourth in the Summer League in PPG (24.5), trailing only San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (25.0), Portland’s Damian Lillard (26.0) and Memphis’ Josh Selby (27.5).