Jimmy Butler takes on the questions. On the NBA’s 2016 draft night, for the first hour of the proceedings at least, the name on everyone’s lips was “Jimmy Butler.” Everyone knew Ben Simmons would be taken No. 1 overall by Philadelphia, Woj already had picks 1-through-19 (all 19-year olds, incidentally) tweeted out, but just about every other tweet besides those in the moments leading up to the draft had the Chicago Bulls swingman potentially on his way toward either Boston or, in a new twist, a Minnesota Timberwolves team fronted by ex-Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Chicago fans were apoplectic at the thought of dealing a player who averages over 20 points while playing standout defense for a prospect that someday could average over 20 points while playing standout defense, but such is the lack of faith Bulls fans have in their team’s front office that many expected a deal to eventually be agreed upon.
Watching Monte Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural. Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second. Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski),