NEW YORK — The Bulls held onto their 30th overall pick in Thursday night’s draft and took Marquette small forward Jimmy Butler. Butler, unlike his Serbian counterpart in the Bulls draft, will sign with the team and is reportedly going to be inserted into the rotation.
Butler played his college ball at Marquette, becoming a starter in his junior year. He’s not a huge name coming out of college but he fits the Bulls style of play nicely. He doesn’t, however, fill the need for a shooting guard and his mid-range game doesn’t solve the need for outside shooting. Regardless, Butler will sign with the Bulls which is exactly what they wanted, one contract. The Bulls were trying to avoid having two contracts heading into the labor dispute and are looking to plug the hole at shooting guard via free agency or trade when it is resolved. Having just one guaranteed contract eases the stress of juggling that situation with also needing to sign Derrick Rose, whom the Bulls want to give a maximum contract.
Jimmy Butler has his strengths and has his weaknesses but he is going to be a guy who fits right into the Bulls rotations. He’s a bit undersized, but he fits all the credentials that the Bulls look for in a player worthy of fitting in. Butler is a tough player who can carry the work ethic Tom Thibodeau has built and he also played three years at Marquette which fill the prerequisite of an experienced college player, another thing the Bulls love.
Here is what the analysts across the NBA world are saying about the Bulls 30th overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft: Jimmy Butler.
AGGREY SAM (CNS-CHICAGO) — To casual fans, the Bulls selection of Marquette product Jimmy Butler with the 30th overall pick in Thursday’s draft might not have satisfied a specific craving. But while Butler doesn’t necessarily cure Chicago’s outside-shooting woes, the Tomball, Tex., native is a round peg for a round hole.
CHAD FORD (ESPN) — His workouts, by virtually all accounts, have been stellar. He won the MVP award at the Portsmouth Invitational. He impressed scouts with a strong performance at the Chicago pre-draft combine. He’s drawn praise from virtually every NBA scout and GM who has worked him out.
JEFF EISENBERG (THE DAGGER) — Wesley Matthews came from nowhere to emerge as a starter for Utah as a rookie two years ago, so now another under-the-radar Marquette guard will try to follow that same formula in Chicago. Most mock drafts had Jimmy Butler dropping into the second round, but obviously the Bulls felt confident that Butler’s success as a mid-range scorer and lockdown defender would translate at the NBA level despite a lack of elite athleticism.
JOE COWLEY (SUN-TIMES) — The instant return the Bulls are hoping for came at pick No. 30 with the 6′ 7″ Butler, who admittedly is a defense-first-, second- and third-minded player.
JOE GREENBERG (ESPN CHICAGO) – The Bulls see Butler, who averaged 15.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game as a senior, as a small forward on offense with the ability to defend every position except center, and the 21-year-old is saying all the right things already, talking defense and shutting down LeBron James.