With the short NBA season over for the Bulls, rookie Jimmy Butler had a great first season. Although Butler, the former Marquette Golden Eagle played only a few minutes, he took advantage of it and showed that he deserves to be on such a great team.
While in his senior year at Marquette, Butler averaged 15.7 points per game, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Butler has a defense first mentality and with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, defense always win, which would fit Butler well, but during the regular season, he would face a few obstacles his way.
During the NBA 2011-2012 season, three of the challenges Butler faced were playing time, especially with a team full of superstars, learning Tom Thibodeau’s system and the last one was adjusting to speed of the game. With Watson, Deng, Hamilton & Rose missing several consecutive games because of injuries, Jimmy took advantage of this opportunity, managed to get playing time and dropped some buckets.
Prior to the All-Star break, he had a great season so far, averaging 2-3 points per game. But because of the lockout, Butler didn’t really get a chance to train with his teammates and learn the coaching system, still that didn’t slow down him down. His career highlight thus far came before the break, when Butler achieved 12 points against the Atlanta Hawks on January 7th 2012. Unfortunately, the Bulls would go on to losing that game with a final score of 109-94.
After the all-star break, Butler continue to dominate whenever given the chance, and showed his consistency when the Bulls won a home game against the Utah Jazz on March 10th 2012. That game, he played for 28 minutes, grabbed 5 rebounds and got 8 points helping the team to victory.
Butler did great for his first year. Not much was expected for him, and while he only played for 42 games this season, Butler obviously struggled like any other rookie. This year he showed his abilities whenever Thibodeau threw him in the game. All he needs to do now is just get better offensively, and needs to prove to Thibodeau that he deserves more minutes. If Butler gets better, he could perhaps be a potential threat to other teams. Personally, I’ll like to see him play more and I was cheering for him when the Bulls played in Toronto because I know he has tremendous potential, but playing time is proving to be difficult. If the Bulls head office decides to let a few players go this off season, I think we could see Jimmy playing a lot more minutes and perhaps Thibodeau will be more confident in him.
This summer he will participate in this year’s summer league representing the Bulls. Jimmy has the right mentality, always plays with a lot of heart and has a very bright future ahead of him.
Final Grade: B