Photos of Bulls guard/forward Jimmy Butler.
Opposing double-teams isn’t the only thing Jimmy Butler has been seeing with more frequency.
"All the film that I watch on myself and of other players getting double-teamed, you just have to pick up on things a lot faster," Butler said following Tuesday’s practice.
That’s right: Butler, averaging over 7 assists since Feb. 1 and a career-high 5.5 overall, has incorporated film study of players getting double-teamed as well as shooting over double teams into workouts with his personal trainer.
"I’m learning," Butler said. "I think I can still be better with my decision-making, what to do and when to do it. Hell, 70 games in, I guess it’s still a learning curve for me and for everybody else. Hopefully, I continue to make the right plays."
Butler even playfully said: "Maybe next time I’ll get 15" when reminded he’s coming off a career-high 14 assists. As far as still incorporating a scoring mentality, he said he has worked on getting more arc on his shots to get them over double-teams.
The Bulls have posted 30 or more assists in two of their last three games. Coach Fred Hoiberg has featured Butler with Rajon Rondo and two shooters in several rotational turns.
"Our spacing has been really good," Hoiberg said. "That has allowed us to get in the paint and have an outlet to kick out to. And when we draw two defenders, we’re making the right play right now. It’s been fun to watch."
Playoff pressure: Butler joked he didn’t remember too much about his first taste of postseason action because he "was over there being a fan, watching from the bench."
But the now three-time All-Star, who logged just three minutes as a rookie in the Bulls’ first-round loss to the 76ers in 2012, agreed making the playoffs would be beneficial for the six players in their first or second year.
"You get to see how important every possession is, the way you’ve got to lock in, the challenge of playing the same team a possibility of seven times," Butler said. "It just shows the mental growth that you’re going to have to withstand and hold through a seven-game series. It’s tough. It’s a lot harder than the regular season."
Added Rondo: "You get better through experience. Playoffs is the best experience at this level. Hopefully (the young players) will get an opportunity to taste it."
Layups: Cristiano Felicio, who has missed three games with a lower back contusion and is still battling soreness, sat out the contact portions of practice. … Butler, on if LeBron James remains his toughest assignment: "You’re not gonna pull me into that. Because if I say he is, then the next time I play Kevin Durant, he’s going to try to score 60. Or Devin Booker gonna try to give me 70. So no, you’re not gonna get me. Not today." … The Bulls assigned Cameron Payne to the Windy City Bulls for Tuesday night’s game. … The Bulls assigned Cameron Payne to the Windy City Bulls for Tuesday night’s game.