With the departure of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, everyone wondered how Jimmy Butler was going to handle things. The six-foot-seven small forward continues to be one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Butler has been on a roll as of late, winning the Player of the Week award in the Eastern Conference. On Tuesday, the Denver Nuggets will attempt to slow down Butler and the Chicago Bulls, as reported by ESPN.
In the past six games that they have played, the Chicago Bulls have only lost one of them. A lot of that is because Jimmy Butler has been playing like he has something to prove.
Over the summer, management shocked the NBA when they acquired Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. The former decided to leave the Sacramento Kings in free agency because he wanted to find a franchise that actually had a chance at contending and providing him with a chance to win a second championship ring. The latter had a somewhat bitter divorce with the Miami Heat, the only team that he has played with professionally up until this season.
Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade both stated that the Chicago Bulls still belong to Jimmy Butler, and that appears to be the case.
The Denver Nuggets are easily one of the most overlooked teams in the NBA. A huge part of that is because they do not have a superstar that draws attention. The team has not had that since Carmelo Anthony decided to leave town and join the New York Knicks. Another part of it is because they play in a market that has not been big on basketball since the early 1980s.
Wilson Chandler is currently the leading scorer for the Denver Nuggets, and he has yet to start a game this season. It is very rare to find an NBA team where a backup player is scoring the most points. It is also rare to find a team where six players are averaging double digits in points, which is what the Nuggets have been doing with Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Gary Harris and Jusuf Nurkic.
None of those six players are going to be known to typical basketball fans that do not intently follow every NBA team. All of them would be considered supporting players on higher profile teams.
Danilo Gallinari is not considered a great defender in the NBA, but he might be tasked with trying to slow down Jimmy Butler. Others will be given a chance as well, but Gallinari will get the first crack at the job. Of course, that could mean that Butler goes off for a very big night.
Will Barton and Gary Harris will also get a crack at trying to defend Jimmy Butler. However, they might not be able to slow down the momentum, either. It would not come as a shock to anyone if Butler were able to score more than 30 points against the Denver Nuggets.
To further complicate things for the Denver Nuggets, they not only need to worry about Jimmy Butler, they also need to keep an eye out on Dwyane Wade, who is coming off of a rest game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The extra energy might cause him to decide to be even more aggressive on offense than normal.
On the flip side, the Chicago Bulls are going to need Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez to focus on keeping Kenneth Faried off of the boards. He is averaging 9.7 a game despite playing approximately 24 minutes a game.
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