2012 NBA Summer League: Jimmy Butler, Malcolm Thomas Steal the Show


SUMMER LEAGUE: Bulls 74, Celtics 79 — FINAL


















The Bulls kicked off their Summer League schedule tonight against the Boston Celtics and Jimmy Butler came to play.

Granted everything in the Summer League has to be taken with a massive grain of salt, Butler is among three players that the Bulls are going to watch very closely during the Summer Circuit. Marquis Teague, the Bulls first round draft pick and Leon Powe, who spent time with Tom Thibodeau in Boston, are the other two.

Both Teague and Butler are under contract for 2013, but Powe could be a guy that the Bulls are able to give the veteran’s minimum if he impresses them in Las Vegas.

But back to Butler who came to play Tuesday night.

Butler barely saw any real minutes in his rookie season but the future depends on hows well Butler can perform if (and when) he becomes a part of the core.

After the Bulls were embarrassingly bounced from the playoffs, Butler basically locked himself inside the Berto Center and practiced constantly on all aspects of his game. Now let me jog my memory here but I seem to remember another Bulls rookie who spent an entire offseason improving his game and his character.

Now that’s not a direct comparison to Derrick Rose — because Butler will never be that player– but it is encouraging for the future. The Bulls need a guy to step in when Luol Deng inevitably leaves either in a trade to free up cap space or when his contract expires in two years.

Butler showed flashes of being a formidable replacement Tuesday against the Celtics.

The rest of the Summer League squad was awful and that’s being nice. But like I said at the beginning of this, it’s just the Summer League and it was the Celtics sixth game this far on the Circuit.

To put things simply, the Bulls trailed Boston 53-32 at the half with only Butler and Ramone Moore posting more than 5 points. To contrast that, 4 Celtics players has 5 or more points with three of them heading to the half with double digit scoring totals.

Marquis Teague, in his Bulls debut, looked like — well, a rookie. He had just two point and was shooting 20 percent with four turnovers in one half of basketball. Teague didn’t fare much better in the second half of his debut and finished the night shooting 3 for 15 from the floor while committing 5 turnovers.

Butler and Thomas Steal the Show: As miserable as the team as a whole was in their summer circuit debut, there were bright spots. And really with the Summer League, only a few guys are going to standout. Tonight that was Jimmy Butler and Malcolm Thomas who combined for 35 points.

Butler was all over the place, making plays, scoring buckets and drawing fouls. But Thomas was a guy that established himself as a name to watch in Bulls circles.

Thomas blew up on Tuesday night going for 10 points and grabbing 13 boards in the losing effort.

The Bulls Summer League debut wasn’t pretty for a majority of the night and Tom Thibodeau, who was in attendance with Gar Forman, was seen visibly wincing at times. But with Jimmy Butler turning in the kind of performance he did tonight, there are plenty of things to look forward to in terms of the future.