At one point in time, Jimmy Butler’s NBA perspective was nothing more than being an “intangibles guy.”
Things have changed.
Heading into his 3rd year as a Chicago Bull, people are starting to wonder about how good he can really be? Now a starter, it has been a long road for Jimmy “Buckets” Butler. If you read the Draft Express scouting report of him from 2010 you begin to realize how much he has grown over the course of three years. From end-of-the-bench guy, to rotation player, to sixth man, to starter during the playoffs, to full-time starter this year, how much better can he be? Some might argue he could win most improved player this year. People are saying he could be a superstar in the league! Some just think that he will bottom out and be nothing more than a defensive stopper who can’t shoot. The opinions vary, but I believe one is closer to the rest.
Jimmy Butler will be a solid 2-guard in this league. He will be a 2-way player who can shoot it well enough to keep the defense honest while exhibiting his high flying act that we have all grown accustomed to. Of course all of this will happen while playing Bruce Bowen-esque defense and locking up the opponent’s best wing player. Now how good could a player like that be? Maybe to a tune of 16 ppg, 6 rpg, 2.5 apg 1.5 spg and .5 bpg? Is this possible next year? Most likely not. But who know’s what happens when/if Deng leaves via free agency after the upcoming season. He could be an All-Star like Deng was this year–a 2-way player who gets in on the coaches vote. As for next season look for him to average around 12-5-2 with 1.2 spg and .4 bpg while playing great defense that allows Coach Thibs defensive schemes to look brilliant. It’s ridiculous how off his scouting report looked when you look at three years ago.
“Butler does have a long wingspan and good size for a small forward, the position he’s projected to play in the NBA, but scouts will put his athleticism under the microscope as he faces NBA caliber athletes virtually every night in Big East play.”
From DraftExpress.com http://www.draftexpress.com#ixzz2fxkTxEZf
When you read that, it’s quite hilarious when you see him play now. Clearly a premiere athlete, I’m not sure whether it was him in college that didn’t allow the spacing he needed to show off his athleticism or if it was just the weight training that professionals use to maximize athleticism. He seems to have maximized it and then some. Also the fact that he has a mediocre wingspan but instead uses smart angles when defending and uses his body well to finish at the rim makes me laugh as well. I must admit, however, when the Bulls made this pick I was not a fan whatsoever. We already had Deng at the small forward position and we definitely did not need another combo forward (which he played a lot of at Marquette) who seemed to lack any sort of upside being an older player who went the junior college route. But who am I kidding? Maybe I’m even underestimating how good he can be.