coaches and management Rose returns in the season opener, scores 13 points and the Bulls beat the New York Knicks 104-80. But he'll tear his meniscus again on Feb. 24, 2015 and won't return until April. However, it was during this season that a notable emergence occurred, a hopeful stabilizing force for the present and future: Jimmy Butler. Men's Nike Kansas City Chiefs #27 Kareem Hunt Game Red Team Color NFL JerseyThe 30th pick in the 2011 draft was developing faster than many in the organization ever expected. After not playing much in his rookie season, Butler started to gain more traction in his second season and turned into a consistent starter in his third, averaging 13.1 points and playing almost 39 minutes a game. Teammates and coaches raved about his work ethic and his ability to connect with people. Adidas NHL Men's Scott Wedgewood Black Authentic Jersey - #31 New Jersey Devils 1917-2017 100th AnniversaryWith Noah struggling to find a rhythm thanks to offseason knee surgery and Rose Womens Todd Bertuzzi Jersey in and out of the lineup because of various injuries, Butler carried the group over the first few months of the season. "He's confident in who he is," said Buzz Williams, Butler's college coach at Marquette, as his star pupil started coming into his own. "He knows that tomorrow he needs to work harder than he did today. And he's not Womens Todd Bertuzzi Jerseycaught up in the hype and the surrounding minutiae of what's going on." Butler credits the time spent with trainer Chris Johnson as one of the main reasons he started to feel as if he could earn a place among the league's elite. Paxson looks back at drafting Butler as the best pick the Bulls have made during his tenure. "I think, as can often happen in our business, the guys that are in school for four years tend to get overscouted," Paxson says. "And you think that their upsides aren't as great as a younger player, and I think that happened to Jimmy. "But through his diligence and hard work, he made himself into this top-10, [top]-15 player in the leagueAfter earning a 2-1 series lead in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Bulls blow a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead in Game 4, ending with a buzzer-beater Womens Todd Bertuzzi Jersey from James. The Bulls lose the next two games, culminating in an embarrassing 21-point home loss in the series clincher. Thibodeau is fired two weeks later, ending one of the most successful runs in franchise history. Throughout the season, leadership roles within the team's framework on and off the floor had shifted, and the tension between Thibodeau, general manager Gar Forman and Paxson was palpable. Things got so bad for a litany of reasons, but it boiled down to a breakdown in communication. Thibodeau wanted to maintain the ability to run his program the way he saw fit. Forman and Paxson wanted to have more say, specifically with regard to how many minutes star players such as Noah and Rose were playing in games. One of the things that irked Forman and Paxson most, sources say, was that they didn't feel they got enough credit for providing Thibodeau with rosters full of professional players. "There was definitely a disconnect between the coaches and management," Noah says now. "It was a little bit of a mess. And to be a championship team, everybody has to be on the same page. It was definitely a missed opportunity." No player publicly criticized Thibodeau during this time, but some had grown weary of his authoritarian approach, expressing that frustration to Forman and Paxson. The unity that had defined the Bulls early in Thibodeau's tenure had started to erode. "The moment I realized it was in some games when Thibs -- because normally when we would have bad games, Thibs would constantly curse us out," Gibson says. "You could feel it in his heart because when he's mad, he explodes. And it was at times when, in games when he knows we're playing like trash, and he knows we're not bringing it, and he's not even cursing us out. You know something's up." "That last year was so different because you always heard the front office and Thibs don't get along," Butler adds. "So it was always around here in the building. In the media, if you decided to read that. Everybody knew what was coming, quote unquote." "In pro sports ... that's not unusual," Thibodeau says now. "And I felt like injuries had a lot to do with us not reaching we may have been able to go. But I felt that we dealt with it as best we could, and I was very proud of the team and all the things that we accomplished." With the benefit of time, Noah, who had the most volatile relationship with Thibodeau, shares a similar sentiment. "Would I change anything? Hell no, man. Womens Todd Bertuzzi Jersey That's who I am. I always gave it everything I had. So I'm going to blame Thibs for what? For going to the All-Star Game twice, and getting first-team All-NBA, being a Defensive Player of the Year. Blame Thibs? Hell no