For Jimmy Butler, having “NBA All-Star” attached to his name must be a dream come true. It is a testimony to all of the hard work that the fourth-year guard from the Chicago Bulls has put into his game. The message should be loud and clear to anyone with goals and aspirations; one can do anything that they put their mind too. If it happened to Jimmy Butler, a kid from the Houston, Texas, area that defied the odds, then it can happen to you.
There have been plenty of praise heaped upon him. He was the topic of discussion for former Bulls great, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. Pippen spoke to ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell recently. He compared Butler’s path to stardom to that of his own. When it came to the question of did he ever envision the excellent perimeter defender developing into a first-time NBA All-Star, Pippen did not hesitate to offer his thoughts.
“Yeah, I did because I kind of see Jimmy’s career a lot like mine. Everybody doubted him and he’s sort of been put behind the eight ball to some degree and… everything that he’s earned in this league, he’s had to work for it. I think that’s been great for him because he’s been what the team has needed the last couple of seasons.”
The metoric rise of Butler is somewhat of a surprise partitually because of his offensive struggles last season. Fans were hoping for an improved game from him. If he could have provided somewhere between 14-16 points a game everyone would been pleased with his production. No one ever imagined the 20.4 points per contest he is averaging. He is leading the third best team in the NBA Eastern Conference in scoring and steals.
On the defensive side of the basketball he has been entrusted to guard the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden just to name a few players. There is something special about watching a player hold his own, having success even when given the task of stopping the best scorers from scoring. Now those same players have to defend Butler, and the deck is even.
Prior to this season, Jimmy Butler was credited for having scored 25 or more points just twice in his career. Twelve times has he reached that scoring total. That includes his career-high of 35 points, which he has done two times. His shooting efficiency is outstanding this year, as he is making 46 percent of his 14.6 shots he takes on average in games.
And the signature defense has not suffered from the offensive output. Barring a drastic late-season collapse, he is a shoo-in for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award.
A recent shoulder injury, as reported by NBC Sports Pro Basketball Talk as just a strain, will not put a halt on Jimmy Butler’s great season. It will not stop him from showing the world his full repertoire for the rest of the year. It is just considered a temporary bump in the road.
Nothing has stopped Jimmy Butler thus far, not his humble childhood which is documented here. Not being a draft night afterthought when the Bulls chose him with the last selection of the 2011 NBA Draft. Jimmy Butler is here to stay. The proof comes with his All-Star Game appearance.