This season has gotten off to a solid start for the Chicago Bulls who are currently sitting at the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a respectable 10-6 record. The team has been a cohesive unit on both ends of the floor, with a top 10 offensive rating (110.7, good for 7th in the NBA) to match their top 10 defensive rating (104.1, 8th). This is all thanks in most part to Jimmy Butler breaking out yet again and emerging as the 2nd best player in the Eastern Conference behind Lebron James.
Forget the Three Alphas, Jimmy Butler is THE Alpha, the Omega, the Phi Beta Lambda, whatever you want to call it for this Chicago Bulls team. The point is, Jimmy has been absurdly good this season. Through the first 16 games of this season, Butler is averaging career highs in field goal percentage (49%), 3pt shooting (43%), rebounds (6.5/game), free throws (89% on 9.5 attempts per game), and most importantly, points (25.8/game). This is ridiculous enough as it is, but it is even more impressive when you see he is averaging his lowest amount of minutes/game (35.2) since 2013. Pretty good for a guy on the trading block in the offseason if you ask me.
Let’s put some of Butler’s statistics to the test against some of the league’s best to see just how brilliant he has been this season. For starters, Jimmy has accumulated 3.8 win shares this season. There’s only one player in the entire NBA that has a higher total than the Bulls guard and that would be Kevin Durant at a whopping 4.1 (who is filling Harrison Barnes’s shoes pretty well thus far). Win shares not your thing? Well Jimmy Butler has got you covered, as he’s currently fifth in Player Efficiency Rating, clocking in at 29.3. To get to the next Eastern Conference player on that list you have to drop all the way down to tenth, where you’ll find Lebron James at 26.7, almost 3 points lower than Butler. STILL not convinced? Compare Chicago’s numbers with him on and off the court. Without Jimmy on the floor the Bulls are roughly 8.5 points worse on the offensive end of the floor and about 6.5 points worse on defense. Essentially this is saying that the Bulls with Butler on the floor are the 3rd best team in the NBA (behind only the Clippers and Warriors) and without him are about as good as the Dallas Mavericks are right now and they’re 3-13 at the moment. Perhaps craziest of all is the fact that he doesn’t even crack the top 20 in usage percentage. Numbers like this aren’t just noteworthy, they are borderline MVP worthy and Butler should definitely be garnering some attention in that respect.
Needless to say, Jimmy G. Buckets has been unbelievable this season and is the biggest reason for Chicago’s success and only time will tell just how far he will rise. This season rests largely upon his shoulders as this is his team. He is the Bulls’s Alpha.
When he’s not fawning over Jimmy Butler stats, you can find @chaseJam on twitter.