Next season will answer a lot of questions for the Chicago Bulls. Will Derrick Rose become the player he used to be? How will Taj Gibson perform as a starter? Is Nikola Mirotic going to be the next Toni Kukoc?
Another question that will be answered next season concerns Jimmy Butler. He is up for a contract extension next summer, but he didn’t show much growth on offense this season. Butler is actually a bench player who has been forced into the starting lineup.
Butler’s numbers, as well as his game, are very similar to Ronnie Brewer at this stage of his career. Brewer averaged 13.7 points per game in his third season, while Butler averaged 13.1. Both of them were top notch defenders with subpar jump shots, but Brewer peaked in his third season.
Brewer has stuck around in the NBA for seven years thanks to defense and energy, and Butler will likely do the same. Unfortunately, Butler’s offensive deficiencies will hold the Bulls back with players like Joakim Noah already starting.
This only places more pressure on Rose and Gibson to score, especially if the Bulls can’t add another scorer this summer.
Butler’s toughness has made him a fan favorite in Chicago, but if Bulls fans are expecting Butler to take a big step on the offensive end this summer they will be disappointed. Butler has done well to improve this much considering he played power forward at Marquette.
His game in college was to defend and finish, so the strides he has made offensively on the perimeter prove that he works hard. If Butler’s shooting percentage does not improve next season the Bulls will know exactly what they have: a high energy defender who will never be the shooter for which the Bulls need to space the floor.