Is anyone actually surprised that Jimmy Butler is beginning to develop as he plays more minutes? I’m not. I knew that he-as well as other rookies- have a better opportunity to prosper under the rule of coach Tom Thibodeau than most other coaches. Butler is no exception to that. With the injury of Richard Hamilton as well as Kirk Hinrich the Chicago Bulls are looking smaller and smaller as the days go on and nothing screams opportunity like injured players.
While that might not be the mindset of Butler, it still reaps the same benefits. Lately he has been seeing more and more court time due to his tenacious defense, and the player he sends to the bench is Luol Deng.
Deng has been worked this season, he is logging about 41 minutes a game and that takes a toll on your body no matter how good of shape your in. Deng is no different and when he hits the bench it provides a learning experience for the rookie forward.
His numbers aren’t spectacular by any means and his offensive production is still in its adolescent stages but his defense is above average. During the game against the Philadelphia 76ers Butler was tasked with guarding Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young during his 30 minutes of play. His presence also offered a clutch three pointer that helped put the visitors up by one point with only a few minutes left in the fourth quarter.
As I said, his numbers aren’t amazing but he has the form of a young Deng with his ability to lock down opponents. It’s only natural that a rookies shooting touch develops over time and that’s exactly what Butler is getting. The more he sees the court the better he will become and it should come as no surprise to Chicago fans.