Butler: Rose played big part in my success

June, 19, 2013
6/19/13
4:33
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
Jimmy ButlerDennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY SportsJimmy Butler averaged 15.6 points a game against the Heat in the second round of the playoffs.
Jimmy Butler attributes "a big part" of his success in his breakthrough second season to the support and encouragement from the rehabbing Derrick Rose.

"He was a big part of the success I had later in the year because he was constantly telling me I've seen you do this, I've seen you make those shots, you take those shots," Butler said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "Every shot you take, think it's going in, think you're going to make it. When you have somebody like that on your side who is constantly building you up it makes it easier to go out and perform and do well."

A first-round pick in 2011, Butler emerged as a key player for the Bulls in his second season after playing in just 42 games as a rookie. He played in all 82 games, averaging 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds.

But in 20 starts, Butler averaged 14.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in 43.3 minutes per game. And he proved to be a fearless defender, often drawing the opponent's best player.

Coming off a second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat in which he averaged 15.6 points in 44.2 minutes a game, expectations are high for Butler going into next season. How high is his ceiling as a player?

"I think it's very high if I continue to work," Butler said. "If I never stop working and keep doing what I've been doing to get me to this point, I feel like with the work ethic that I do have I really would like to be great and I won't stop until I am great for this team and this city. But it makes it real easy to have guys, a coaching staff and a whole city that's supporting you no matter what. I've got a lot of good guys on my side."

One of those guys apparently is Scottie Pippen. The former Bulls star is said to be working with Butler this summer, but Butler was coy when asked about it.

"Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know," Butler said. "That's a good question. You think I should?"

With Richard Hamilton not expected back, Butler is the likely choice to start at shooting guard next season. Does he see himself as the starter?

"I do. I see myself as a part of this team," Butler said. "If that's the two, if that's the three, if that's defense, whatever my teams needs me to do that's what I'm going to be. It's not really putting numbers on it, just do what I can for this team."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5