Walk the Line: Jimmy Butler


Photo credit: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

One of the clear stars of this season has been Jimmy Butler. In his fourth season, Butler has seen his stats jump to 21.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 3.1 apg. He has become an offensive producer for an inconsistent team where Derrick Rose is showing up more as a guest star and Pau Gasol has to sit sometimes.

One of the things to look at with Butler’s skills is his ability to get to the free throw line. In a 114-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets where he put up 32 points, Butler got to the line a staggering 20 times. He completed 18 of those attempts.

You can look at his FT prowess on this chart from basketball reference

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 9.47.58 PM

His lowest average so far this season was .500, and that was his first game this season after sitting out the first two games of the season. An ability to get to the line and close out a close game is an essential way to win games and usually goes to a pure shooter for that ability. With Butler’s 6’7″ 220 lbs size, he will be able to draw more down in the paint and get big men in foul trouble, also being able to increase those fouls into shooting fouls if he is closer to the basket.

In the 17 games the Bulls have played, Butler has been the top scorer of 6 of them.

I already talked in the podcast about Butler turning down his rookie extension saying he wanted to “bet on himself” and now the stories arising that Butler turned down a 4 yr/$40 million extension hoping to get the Klay Thompson sized max deal. So far it looks like he is on his way to earn it. Although Butler will be restricted and the Bulls will have the opportunity to match, the front office is notoriously stingy and is now caught up in some big contracts for Rose and Gasol. If someone does pitch the max to Butler, does anyone think the Bulls would be hard pressed to match it?

Andy Livingston

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