Wellbet, Bulls (ESPN) — As Jimmy Butler embarks on his new basketball life, the one without Dwyane Wade (fractured elbow) by his side for the rest of the regular season, he knows a lot of things around him are going to change. While trying to prepare for his new reality, Butler, who has carried the Chicago Bulls throughout much of their up-and-down campaign, was asked whether he feels he has more to give.
“I don’t know,” he said prior to Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards. “That’s a good question. Time will only tell. We’ll see how everything goes tonight, and a few couple nights after this.”
Jimmy Butler is expecting more double-teams to come his way now that Dwyane Wade is out for the season. Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images
The All-Star swingman knows that of all the changes he will see without Wade, the biggest one will likely be the number of defenders teams send toward him. When Wade has missed time this season — 11 games for various reasons prior to Friday — teams routinely have double-teamed Butler.
“All the different coverages coming my way,” he said. “What we’re going to try to do offensively, the schemes we’re going to have to put in defensively, I think a lot of things change. But overall, I think it’s just another thing that’s going to make it a little bit harder for us. I like it. I want everybody to step up and take the weight that he had, apply it to theirs.”
Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg understands that his team’s dynamic will change without Wade, and he believes Butler can’t be the only one to do more.
“Somebody’s going to have to step up and fill that void; it’s not just Jimmy,” Hoiberg said. “It’s got to be a total team effort. It’s got to be a collective effort by our guys. And hopefully somebody will step up and give us good minutes.”
Butler is going to have to rely on the advice Wade gave him earlier in the year — to dominate every time he steps on the floor — in order to keep the Bulls in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Chicago goes into Friday night one game behind the Detroit Pistons for the last spot.
“I’ve probably got a text message in my phone right now [from him],” Butler said. “We talk a lot. I had something like the same injury, so I can feel for him. But other than that, he’s telling me what I’m going to have to do, the way I got to go about the game now. That’s what he’s been doing for me all year long anyways.”