Chicago Bulls: Why Jimmy Butler is the X-factor

To borrow a line from country music star Gary Allen, “Every storm runs out of rain.” Jimmy Butler’s life has symbolized that and then some. Butler has overcome an insurmountable amount of troubles throughout his childhood and has remarkably become a successful NBA player after only his third season.

Jimmy Butler often was the unsung hero after many of the Chicago Bulls’ victories this past season. He doesn’t hit the game-winning shots nor pound his chest after every basket. But what he does do is the little things that don’t go unnoticed by his teammates. Every night he covers the opposing team’s top scoring threat and more often than not locks them down. Butler held LeBron James to under 20.0 points per game in their three head-to-head matchups this season.

The Bulls are a team full of X-factors that include, but are not limited to, rookie Doug McDermott, newcomer Pau Gasol, D-Rose’s knee, and the “as mentioned before,” Jimmy Butler. There is no doubt in Bulls fan’s minds that their team will go as far as Derrick Rose can take them. Despite hardly playing competitive basketball over the past two years, Derrick Rose is finally looking like himself again. There should no longer be any more questions regarding Rose’s athletic explosion as he has easily been the most impressive player thus far for Coach K and team USA.

Chicago Bulls

3-point shooting was a struggle for Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls last season.

While having the presumption that D-Rose can play like the D-Rose we are all accustomed to seeing, the true X-factor for this Chicago Bulls team is Jimmy Butler.

Jimmy Butler is a do-it-all type of player that will do whatever it takes to contribute to his team. Last season he took way too many forced jumpers that just weren’t good shots. He only made 28 more 3-pointers than he did the year before despite taking 135 more attempts. He was a streaky shooter all year and the efficiency just wasn’t there. He attempted to make up for the lack of offensive firepower that was on the team last year, but it seemed he was trying a bit too hard.

Fortunately, a shooting stroke is something that can easily be fixed through repetition and hours in the gym. With Chicago’s offense looking to be a bit more effective this year, Butler can take a step back until he has his shot down pat. Remember, he has overcome a lot harder things.

The Bulls need Butler to be a defensive force this year if they have any aspirations to be in the NBA Finals. Butler is already considered to be one of the top perimeter defensive players in the NBA. Head coach Tom Thibodeau always seems to get the most out of his players defensively since he’s taken over the Bulls in 2010. If Butler continues to develop and increases his steal production, look for him to be in the Defensive Player of the Year running for years to come.

The Chicago Bulls are stocked defensively with Pau Gasol and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah clogging up the paint. The scary thing is Butler is probably the most versatile defensive player on the team and he’s only getting better. Don’t be surprised if the opposition struggles to score 80 points against this Bulls team.