Is there any doubt in your mind that the man we all have come to know and love is not physically, mentally, or emotionally ready for this upcoming season? A young man who has fought his way through life’s toughest ups and downs. Unwanted and Homeless as a High Schooler by his own mother. The cards were stacked against him already. After High School however, he ended up playing for Tyler Jr College before being offered a scholarship to play big time basketball at Marquette. Blossoming on a bigger stage but yet not enough to be a star in college. The Chicago Bulls take him with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft and expectations were low for him, very low. His jumper was nonexistent, barely had handles let alone a cross over. About the only thing on his scouting report could have been above average defender and athletic.
No life hurdle is high enough for Jimmy to leap over and after only averaging 8 mpg in his rookie season in 42 games, Jimmy worked his way to stardom in the eyes of Chicago Bulls fans last season. With an amazing Summer League campaign where he dominated competition, and showed he did know what to do with the basketball outside of 15 feet, this upcoming season was looking up for Jimmy. He would come off the bench for the majority of the season, but after working his way up the rotation and showing flashes of a legit 2 guard in the NBA, when given an opportunity to shine in the starting line-up Jimmy ran with it. He never looked back. Yeah he may have ended last season averaging 8ppg, 4reb, 1.9ast, it’s what he did as a starter. Its how he responded when given that opportunity and in those 20 games he did start Jimmy Butler went on to average 14.5ppg, 7reb, and 3ast. Those are the stats the Bulls need this 24 yr old high flyer out of Marquette to get this upcoming season if they think there is a chance they get past the Heat, Pacers, or Nets of the world.
So what has Jimmy been up to this offseason? Not much has been talked about his regiment besides the known week he spent with Derrick. That’s Jimmy though. You don’t know what he is doing, what he’s working on, or how hard he has been working. You don’t know these things until he suits up for his first day of training camp and Coach Thibs says “Jimmy has changed, he’s in a different place, and I think there are some different things we can change to take advantage of what he does well.” Also adding “Jimmy isn’t one to tell you what he has improved on, Jimmy shows you.” It shows he worked on his craft this offseason and he has come into training camp in “ridiculous shape” as CSN Insider Aggrey Smith has said.
All things are pointing positive. Derrick is excited to have a running mate that can bring the ball up the floor, guard any 2 guard in the league, and add some scoring at that position. Something in the past Chicago has used 3 different players to fill those 3 voids at the SG position. Now the Bulls have their guy, the newest member of their core. But, the real question is, can he prove to be the best all-around SG to wear a Bulls uniform since #23? Now that’s a completely different story, what do you think?