DENVER -- After watching Jimmy Butler tie a career high with 32 points and establish a new personal best by hitting 18 of 20 free throws, coach Tom Thibodeau heaped praise on the Chicago Bulls swingman for the way he has produced over the first month of the season.
"He's been incredible," said Thibodeau, whose Bulls lost 114-109 to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. "He's a star, and he does it on both ends of the floor. He's just an amazing player. We've had him play the point, we've had him play the 2, the 3, and tonight he played the 4. And he hasn't had any opportunity to practice the 4. So he just got out there, he's smart, he's tough, he does whatever the team needs, and he found a way to help lead us into coming back and having a shot at the end."
On a night when the Bulls played without Joakim Noah (left eye/left knee) and Taj Gibson (left ankle) and lost Derrick Rose in the second half due to caution surrounding his health, Butler's performance may get lost in the shuffle of another game in the long NBA schedule.
Although the 25-year-old continues to put up All-Star-type numbers, he doesn't want any part of the star label.
"I'm not a star," Butler said. "I'm a good role player on a really, really good team. A really, really deep team. I like role players. 'Star' has never been next to Jimmy Butler's name, it never will be. I'll always be just an under-the-radar dog."
The numbers tell a different story for Butler. In his fourth season, Butler is averaging 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game while playing over 39 minutes a night.
"I truly just want to win," he said. "Both of the games I scored 32 we lost. I'll take scoring 2 points and win, than 32 and lose, any day, every day. Obviously, we got to go back to the drawing boards and figure it out."