Fred Hoiberg: Injuries have kept Rose-Butler dynamic from thriving

MIAMI -- Fred Hoiberg remains convinced that Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler can thrive together for the Chicago Bulls, but the first-year coach acknowledged Wednesday that -- given the rash of injuries -- "it's been tough" getting the pair to play well together at the same time this season.

"We've had some really good moments with those guys on the floor together this year," Hoiberg said Wednesday. "It's been a tough dynamic.

"Derrick will miss three or four games and then put him back in and then just the style of play that you have is different. You have to integrate him back into the lineup. And then Jimmy misses a few games and then gets back in. So it's been a tough dynamic, and I think you saw a little bit of that [Tuesday] night with Derrick coming back for the first time.

"As far as anything between the two of the them? No. And I think if you asked those two guys, they'd tell you the same thing."

The Bulls suffered one of their worst losses of the season Tuesday night against a depleted Memphis Grizzlies team that had lost six in a row. After scoring 25 points and hitting several crucial shots Sunday without Rose on the floor because of an elbow injury, Butler looked passive most of the night during Tuesday's loss and scored just five points.

Hoiberg said he met with Butler after Tuesday's game but did not go into specifics about the conversation. Butler again conceded Wednesday that he should have been more aggressive.

"That was just me being very passive," Butler said. "I have to stay aggressive because, when I'm aggressive, not only can I get shots for myself but I can also get shots for others -- for the shooters, the amazing shooters that we do have on this roster. When I'm attacking the rim and being aggressive, pulling up shooting the ball, somebody has to help."

Butler, who has struggled since returning from a knee injury on March 14, said he feels fine physically. He also said he believes that he and Rose will work through their issues on the floor and find a rhythm.

"Just playing basketball," Butler said. "The thing is, if we would have won, nobody would have said that. If we would have came back and won the game, it's 'how good they can play together.' But we didn't, so that's what it comes down to. It's always been like that. We're not winning right now the way that everybody expected us to, so 'there's a problem with me and him.' Just like it was at the end of last year. There's no problem.

"I didn't play well. I didn't play like I'm capable of playing. It has nothing to do with him. It has nothing to do with them. It has nothing to do with my coaches. It has everything to do with me. So it's not, 'if we can co-exist.' It's, 'Jimmy Butler has to play better; Jimmy Butler has to do whatever it takes to help this team win.' He can't do anything about that. That has nothing to do with Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose. It has everything to do with just Jimmy Butler. [I'm] not being selfish but it's the truth."

Hoiberg has said part of Butler's evolution into a leader should include setting up workouts with teammates during the summer, including Rose.

"I mean, we know each other's games pretty well from being around each other on the court," Butler said. "But I think in the offseason, it will really let me know where he really wants the ball, what he's really, really good at. And the same way [for] him with me."

The Bulls are two games behind the Detroit Pistons for the final spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Pistons hold the tiebreaker.

"The good moments we had -- you wish that you had more of that," Hoiberg said of Butler and Rose. "Again, it is a style where players like that, with their athleticism, should thrive. It's something, when you do have good moments, you try to build on that."