The Bulls had a 10 point lead over the Atlanta Hawks with just under 3 minutes to go, before allowing a 19-2 run and losing yet again to a Hawks team they just can’t seem to beat. It’s like the Hawks are to the Bulls what the Bulls are to the Raptors...though the Raptors are a better team than the Bulls (as is Atlanta) so it isn’t a perfect analogy.
But maybe the constant losing, and recent drubbing, to Atlanta is what really cheesed off Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade post-game. That and the method of loss being a late-game collapse after both leading scorers had phenomenal nights scoring 64% of the team’s points.
Both guys went off to the media with similar points.
- The other guys don’t care as much as us, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade
- The other guys shouldn’t be taking late-game shots as much as us, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade
The quotes themselves are pretty entertaining, I recommend Cody Westerlund’s roundup of them at CBSChicago. You can also find videos of the the whole locker room rants. (Wade, Butler)
But do they actually make sense?
The ‘effort’ accusation is a tricky one. Maybe it’s something he’s seen with his teammates after losses or in practice, where they losses don’t seem to affect them or they’re not putting in the work (Jerian Grant, for one, disputes this). But if it’s about trying while on the court during games, it’s interesting that Dwyane Wade himself is someone who’s giving the least amount of defensive effort on the team, as deftly pointed out by Stephen Noh at The Athletic. We’ve seen it all season, but there’s a pretty egregious instance of Wade loafing in the very stretch that caused the Bulls the game last night.
Now, to give Wade some benefit of the doubt, when he references people ‘doing their jobs’, it’s not Wade’s job to be a defensive stopper. He’s old and playing a lot of minutes on a back-to-back.
But it’s certainly more his ‘job’ to hit late-game shots, which was the other main thrust of his comments.
Wade: “My thing is if you're going to shoot those shots, you better have made that shot a lot of times and you better have put the work in."— Mike McGraw (@McGrawDHBulls) January 26, 2017
As Noh points out (again, read the whole thing, it’s great), Wade hasn’t exactly been clutch this season, though he definitely has earned status. But should these shots really be driven by status? Or were they pretty good looks, and just missed?
Here's the three controversial end-of-game 3-pointers that the Bulls missed. Looked like decent shots to me. pic.twitter.com/lNIjuZXnzE— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) January 26, 2017
And keep in mind that both Wade and Butler missed mid-range shots in the late meltdown too. And it was just as much, if not moreso, about the defense, though we’ll get into that in a different post.
I’m not as hard on Wade and Butler for this notion, to be honest. Because while the looks from three were pretty good, we’re talking about them coming from these three:
- Taj Gibson, 2-30 for threes in his career
- Nikola Mirotic, down to 30% on the season after missing 13 of his last 15 attempts.
- Paul Zipser, a rookie hitting 28% of his threes on this season
So I’m not so sure it’s about the playcalling (haven’t mentioned the Bulls head coach in this whole thing yet, but that’s probably just indicative in that Wade/Butler coach the team?) as it is about the teammates out there on the floor with them. GarPax always says they “like their guys”, but I don’t think Wade and Butler do anymore.