- Jesse Rogers, Chicago Cubs beat reporter
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Second-year Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler gave mixed reviews for his play as well as his fellow bench players in the Bulls preseason opening win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
After going 1 for 11 from the field, mixed reviews is about the best way to describe Butler’s night.
"I think we did OK," Butler, who shot 1 of 11 from the field, said of the new bench. "We can do a lot better. I think we will do a lot better in this upcoming game on Friday."
Butler wasn’t the only player off the bench to shoot poorly. Overall the reserves were 12-for-46. Coach Tom Thibodeau basically called the bench a work in progress but at least the team has a baseline to work from after one preseason game.
Next up is the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in Champaign, Ill.. Despite the woeful shooting night for Butler, his coach isn’t judging him negatively.
"I don't measure him by how he shoots the ball," Thibodeau said after practice on Thursday. "To me, I think he had six rebounds in 24 minutes. I want him to play great defense, be a catalyst, run the floor, get some easy (baskets). I thought he relied too much on his jump shot. I think he's a very good cutter. He's very good in transition, so I want him playing to his strengths, but defensively I thought he did some good things, and I like the way he rebounded the ball."
Butler added two steals and an assist to his six rebounds and two points. Still, it’s the 1-for-11 that stands out.
"I can’t be nervous, I have to be confident," Butler said. "Can’t be so anxious to do well, that’s for sure. But it’s coming."
Butler has talked often in training camp about his growing confidence and feels like one bad game from the field isn’t going to sway him.
"I’m going to be confident to hit the corner three or three wherever it may be," he said. "I have to get to the rim and finish and get to the line. And hit open jumpers."
Tom Thibodeau says Jimmy Butler's value to the Bulls is not about his shooting.