Jimmy Butler is having a career year and continues to improve with each season that passes. Jimmy Butler is regarded as one of the hardest working players in the NBA and is a favorite of Chicago Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau because of his gritty and relentless effort. Jimmy Butler is an early season favorite to win the Most Improved Player Award as you can see from his statistics below.
11-12- 2.6 PPG/ 40% FG/0.3 AST/1.3 REB
12-13- 8.6 PPG/46% FG/1.4 AST/4.0 REB
13-14-13.1 PPG/39% FG/2.6 AST/4.9 REB
14-15- 21.7 PPG/48% FG/3.4 AST/5.6 REB
Jimmy Butler continues to show maximum effort and is experiencing success because he is outworking guys most night, not because of his superior talent. Jimmy Butler was the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He was the last player selected in the 1st round and was seen as a long shot at best to be an impactful player on an NBA team. Jimmy Butler is accustomed to being an underdog and not having people believe in his ability or potential.
Jimmy’s father was out of his life at an early age, and unbelievably at 13-years-old, Jimmy was kicked out of his house by his own mother and vividly remembers her last words to him,
“I don’t like the look of you. You gotta go.”
Jimmy eventually became homeless and moved from home to home during his high school years. Jimmy Butler could have very easily given up on his academics and passion for basketball. His high school basketball coach and school principal didn’t believe in his talents and abilities as Jimmy did not have the talent, height, or fundamentals of other players his age.
Jimmy Butler was eventually adopted by a family during his senior year of high school and enrolled in a junior college without any athletic scholarships or support. Jimmy performed extremely well and eventually transferred to Marquette University for the remainder of his college career.
The way in which Jimmy Butler was able to overcome adversity and personal hardships is a testament to his character, and hardworking attitude. Jimmy’s story has had a profound impact on his life and how he views the world as he stated during a recent interview:
“It’s taught me that anything is possible. My whole life, people have doubted me. My mom did. People told me in high school I’m too short and not fast enough to play basketball. They didn’t know my story. Because if they did, they’d know that anything is possible. Who would’ve thought that a small-town kid would become a halfway decent player in college and now has a chance to be drafted in the NBA? That’s my chip. That’s what motivates me. I know I can overcome anything if I just take everything one day [at a] time.”
Counting out Jimmy Butler would be a mistake. It will be interesting to see how far Jimmy Butler will be able to elevate his game, but I am guessing it is only a matter of time before he is considered one of the best shooting guards in the NBA.
Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people. Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.