High expectations for Jimmy Butler coming into this season. The SG of the future. Out of all the players on this team who was expected to do more once Rose and Deng went down, Jimmy was that guy. Unfortunately, all the talk this past offseason of him working on his weaknesses, becoming a better shooter and ball handler never showed up this season.
He never really looked comfortably offensively. It would seem at times, he didn’t have confidence in himself to dribble the ball more than twice during an offensive set. In order to move forward as a better player, Jimmy will need that confidence. He will need better decision-making skills offensively. Joakim Noah struggled similarly in recent years to find his way on the offensive end, although, it look as though it all clicked for him this season. Hopefully Jimmy follows suit, soon. Sure Butler hit a few key buckets this season down the stretch to seal a game, but that’s expected out of your shooting guard who plays 40+ minutes a night.
What Jimmy does bring to this team night in, and night out is his athleticism and defensive intensity. You know for 82 games Jimmy is going to leave it all on the court. He may score 5 points in the game, but chances are he spent 42 minutes of that game shutting down the best offensive threat on the opposing team, whether it be a PG or a SF, Jimmy can guard all. A game in which I personally witnessed as my first Bulls game at the UC vs the Heat in March. Jimmy Butler got into LeBron’s head early, after getting tangled up with him under the basket. LeBron seemed to do what he does in a lot of times in that situation, he back down. Jimmy, took advantage of the situation playing 47 minutes in that overtime victory over the Heat coming up with key defensively plays down the stretch. Including a game saving strip at the end of regulation. All the while holding LeBron to fewer field goals (2) while guarding LeBron, than James had turnovers (3).
LeBron James vs Jimmy Butler as Primary Defender, March 9th
|vs Butler||vs All Others|
Jimmy did look good defensively all year, however he seemed to run out of gas in the post season as did the rest of the team. Allowing Bradley Beal to look like an All-Star in their first round match-up. Beal would average 19.8 ppg while shooting 45% from behind the arc and 44% FG shooting. Beal looked unstoppable and Jimmy looked a step, even two steps slow at times during that series. While it did seem Jimmy was out of it down the stretch for Chicago, Joe Cowley reported that he was unhappy with the way he was being used in the offense. Let’s hope he realizes the coach was in the right in this situation and he works on his game even more this offseason. From what was seen on the court this season, he still has a ways to go offensively. Defensively, however, we all know he’s outstanding. One thing will always be a certain with Jimmy Butler, he will never, ever back down.
38.7 MPG 39% FG 28% 3pt 4.9 TRB 2.6 APG 13.1 PPG
Follow me on Twitter: @BullsZoneJason