Chicago Bulls – Jimmy Butler Thrives as Playmaker; Doug McDermott Loves the Preseason

Jimmy Butler, Fred Hoiberg

The Chicago Bulls didn’t look particularly impressive in their 105-95 preseason debut win over the Milwaukee Bucks, but they had to be pleased with Jimmy Butler being the playmaker and doing it well, and also with Doug McDermott, carrying on his good form from the Summer League.

Butler scored 23 points on 7-of-12 from the field and adding six assists, playing 25 minutes and starting next to E’Twaun Moore, another shooting guard, which means that while Derrick Rose is out, Butler will get a lot of time with the ball in his hands. Butler did a good job of finding open shooters and overall setting the pace, although the hopes of Bulls fans to see a Hoiberg team that reminds them of the kind of basketball we saw from his players at Iowa State were destroyed by the officials calling 69 fouls on both teams.

Moore played 30 minutes, McDermott had 33 and Tony Snell, starting in the lineup, had 31. Nikola Mirotic was also in the lineup while Pau Gasol rests from this successful Eurobasket tournament. McDermott had a rough half, hitting nothing from the field, but had a strong second half and finished with 23 points on 8-of-19 shooting, including five three pointers. Nikola Mirotic, who also played in the Eurobasket, looked good and healthy after a bad finish to last season (including the playoffs) with 18 points and 8 rebounds.

Joakim Noah continues to look like he has no clue what’s going on offensively with just one point, but he did grab 7 offensive rebounds. Bobby Portis was inaccurate as well, scoring just 8 points on 2-of-12 from the field, but he did grab 14 rebounds, and his energy seems to fit right in with what Hoiberg is trying to do and the overall cast of players the Bulls usually add to keep a certain identity over the last few years.

Things should look smoother as the preseason rolls along, and especially once Derrick Rose is back, which shouldn’t take too long. It’ll be interesting to see just how much of ball handling duties will remain in Butler’s hands, as everyone will be closely watching to see just how tense the situation is between the two guards, with the hierarchy within the team changing, maybe now with the help of the coaching staff as well.

Rashad Vaughn led the Bucks with 20 points in a disappointing performance all around. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored just 6 points, Greg Monroe had 6 in his debut for the Bucks and Michael Carter-Williams scored 6 as well. However, all three players had just 17 minutes of basketball, as Jason Kidd isn’t planning on showing all of his cards right off the preseason bat.

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