Tom Thibodeau once played Jimmy Butler 48 minutes in a preseason game
Current Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau has a reputation for overworking his starters, but what he did to Jimmy Butler in a preseason game in 2012 when they were still with the Chicago Bulls was downright absurd, to say the least.
A nugget of information unearthed by Reddit user VinceJumpmanCarter revealed that Thibodeau once played Butler for all 48 minutes in a preseason game. While that seems to be a joke, a post-game article from Patrick Hayes of SB Nation backs up the recent revelation.
Butler was representing the Bulls at the time and ironically enough, Chicago was up against Minnesota back then. And following the game, Thibodeau told Aggrey Sam of Comcast Sports Net (via SB Nation) the following:
“I thought he played hard the whole game. I thought his defense was very good. I thought he got the ball into the post very well in the first half. I thought he moved well without the ball. He got to a cutting game that he was very effective at. He did a lot of good things for us.”
Butler was entering his second year in the league that time, so it might not be surprising for some. However, playing Butler all game long in preseason is something unreasonable. Besides, playing the whole game is rare in the playoffs, let alone in the preseason.
Much has changed in the last six years. As mentioned earlier, Thibs and Butler are now with the Timberwolves — although who knows how long in Butler’s case. Another interesting tidbit from this game is that Butler’s extended minutes came because Luol Deng, one of the Bulls’ stars, sat out the game. Now, Deng is a bench player looking to have a renaissance in Minnesota.