After last night's blowout loss to the Knicks, capping a back-to-back losing streak after the 4-OT loss against the Pistons, Jimmy Butler had things to say right away and just kept going. Nick Friedell of ESPN.com has it all:
When asked if he believed in the Bulls roster or if a shakeup was in order for players to start getting a message, Butler was blunt in his assessment.
"I believe in the guys in this locker room, yeah," Butler said. "But I also believe that we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times. I'm sorry, I know Fred's a laid-back guy, and I really respect him for that, but when guys aren't doing what they're supposed to do, you got to get on guys, myself included. You got to do what you're supposed to do when you're out there playing basketball."
He then echoed the ghost of Thibsmas past:
"It's not even about being coached a certain way for five years," Butler said. "It's making everybody do their job. We weren't doing what we were supposed to be doing, what we wrote up on that board before the game, and nobody spoke up about it. I did probably not enough times, but I think that he has to hold everybody accountable. From the No. 1 player all the way down to however many guys we got. You got to hold everybody accountable; everybody has to do their job. You win your matchup, you do your job, we win the game."
There's even more if you want to take a look, though there's no added context to soften it: it's Jimmy pretty plainly frustrated and saying the coaching style needs to be different.
This is approximately the 27th time this season Butler has griped to the media about his teammates' effort, though before it was more of the 'we gotta fix this' until shining a light on the head coach. It looks like this is his idea of the leadership he aimed to provide when he proclaimed to be taking that mantle in training camp.
In a follow-up column, Friedell speculates pretty wildly ("the beginning of the end"?) about possible disciplinary action and how his teammates may respond. But he makes the point that at no time in 5 seasons did players publicly call out Thibs like this, especially from a player trying to "get out from underneath Derrick Rose's long shadow" and be the face of the franchise.