Given all of the injuries that the Chicago Bulls have been forced to deal with throughout the 2012-2013 NBA season, it’s a wonder they aren’t near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. They’ve been without Derrick Rose all season, Joakim Noah has missed a number of games, and several other players have been hampered by injuries. The United Center has basically doubled as a hospital wing this season.
However, all of these injuries have allowed for one majorly positive thing to happen this year: the emergence of second year guard/forward Jimmy Butler. For the season, Butler has played in 70 games and has seen 23.3 minutes of time on the floor per game. In that time he has averaged 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.8 steals per game, while also shooting 46.8 percent from the field. That’s been enough to show that this guy has enormous potential.
Over recent weeks, though, Butler has started to realize his potential as he’s been given more of an opportunity. Over the Bulls’ last five games, Butler’s minutes have increased to 33.2 per game. He has delivered in those minutes, averaging 13.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. He’s also shooting a fantastic 51.3 percent from the floor and has shot 7-11 from beyond-the-arc. That’s absolutely fantastic.
At just 23 years old, Butler still has a ton of development left to do at the professional level. His athletic ability, high basketball IQ and versatile skill-set make him intriguing to watch right now and intriguing as a player to watch for the future. If he continues to get ample opportunities to play, Butler has given no reason to think that he won’t be one of the better and more entertaining players in the NBA.