Chicago Bulls: Building all-time one-year starting five

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls. (Photo credit should read VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images)
Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls. (Photo credit should read VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /

Small Forward: Jimmy Butler (2016-17)

Since the 2014-15 regular season, the NBA landscape saw “Jimmy G. Buckets” blossom into the superstar that he’s turned into with the Miami Heat today. He first broke through in his last three seasons in a Bulls uniform, and then rode out the start of his prime years with the Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Heat in the current season.

But the clear best season for Butler in his run with the Bulls at the outset of his NBA career came during the 2016-17 campaign. Butler would get his third straight All-Star selection in 2017, and he would become a true MVP contender for the first time in his career. The 2016-17 campaign was also his first career All-NBA selection (Third Team).

Butler played in 76 regular season games in this individual season (starting in all but one of them). He averaged a career-best 23.9 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.9 steals, while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.

It’s weird that the Bulls didn’t want to hand Butler a max contract and build around him considering the path upward that he was trending on. He’s now an MVP contender with the Heat and a potential dark horse contender in the Eastern Conference (if the season resumes anytime soon).

However, his advanced numbers were very special in 2016-17. He registered a 7.3 box plus/minus rating, 6.6 value over replacement player rating, .236 win shares per 48 minutes, 25.1 player efficiency rating, 58.6 true shooting percentage, and just shy of 14 total win shares.