I don’t have to rehash all the reasons this Chicago Bulls’ season has been a frown-inducing mess. The injuries, the terrible offense, yadda yadda you get the point.
But one of the bright lights Bulls fans were supposed to have this season, though was an exciting new full-time shooting guard in Jimmy “Buckets” Butler. The springy, 6-foot-7, athletic swingman burst onto the scene last year as a major building block and shooting guard/small forward of the future.
Butler’s time so far, though, has been cut severely short by (you guessed it)
injuries. First, a turf toe injury in late November actually took Butler out of the lineup before Derrick Rose got hurt. After missing almost a month, Butler returned December 19 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, only to promptly sprain his ankle in the first quarter and leave the rotation again.
Butler has appeared in just 14 of 25 games, averaging just 11 points and shooting 40 percent.
He is still having a “career year” by the numbers, in the literal sense of the phrase. The 11 points per game is a career high, as are the 1.7 steals per game. He has still played pretty well when he’s actually played, but his progress has been, understandably, slower than what Bulls fans were hoping for.
Playing off of Derrick Rose, a 15 points-5 rebounds-5 assists per game line with excellent defense was a reasonable expectation. He would run the floor with Rose, using his speed and leaping ability to finish off exciting fast breaks and provide the Bulls with a bit of what the Miami Heat get to enjoy on a nightly basis with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Of course, once he gets healthy, Butler could come back and we could see the young man’s progress skyrocket (pleeeeease?). Combined with the promising play by rookie Tony Snell, the Bulls may have, just maybe, found their shooting guard/small forward pair for the future.
So far, though, just like seemingly everything else this season, Butler’s season has been a dud instead of a bang.