Chicago Bulls Need Bigger Role for Jimmy Butler

Chicago Bulls, Jimmy Butler

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls had another successful season in 2012 as the team made the second round of the NBA playoffs without star point guard Derrick Rose.

His absence has been pretty surprising given the amount of games he has missed due to the ACL tear he suffered over a season ago, and helped pave the way for a more featured role for young small forward Jimmy Butler, who took complete advantage of the expanded opportunity.

Butler emerged as a young star in the latter portion of last season and at only 23, he seems destined for big things as his career progresses. He improved his job status immensely and also is a great athlete for someone who stands 6-foot-7. The one problem with Butler moving forward is that the Bulls already have a very expensive option to play the same position in Luol Deng.

Deng is a very good player, but he is starting to get a little long in the tooth, and Butler offers more upside at this stage in their respective careers. The Bulls would do well in exploring Deng’s trade market to see if they can get back a shooting guard or more forward depth in return.

The Bulls could play Deng and Butler together with Butler occupying the two-guard spot, but that is probably not the organization’s preference given the state of the team. Both players are good but not great shooters, and spacing issues would arise with both on the court together for lengthy stints.

Butler looks poised to become one of the better young players in the league and the Bulls need to create an even larger role for him this season.

Rob Lunder covers the NBA for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @rlunder18

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  • Colin Spence

    If you did your homework, you would see that Thibodeau has already stated, more than once, that Jimmy Butler is the starting SG next season.

    Not only that, but Butler averaged nearly 16 points per game (leading the Bulls while taking the third most shots) against Miami in the postseason, shooting 42% from 3 point range in the series. If that doesn’t indicate that he has at least the potential to be a good shooter in the long term, I don’t know what does.