By: Rob Botts
Whether it is the butler in a murder mystery quietly picking off his opponents in a cat and mouse fashion or a certain corner back from the New England Patriots who made them world champions with one simple play, they both “did it.” Now there is another Butler who is quite guilty of doing something of his own in the windy city.
Quietly there is a player on the Chicago Bulls who is taking the title of best player on the team from a former MVP. That player is Jimmy Butler and that former most valuable player is Derrick Rose. There has been an influx of change this season with the Bulls bringing new coach Fred Hoiberg through the door after showing former coach known as “Thibs” that same door. The internal evolution of Mr. Butler becoming the team’s best player has happened in a less obvious kind of way over the past few seasons but obvious though to close watchers of the NBA game as opposed to the casual basketball fan. Although, his recent 43 point explosion and absolute cardio clinic he put on in this season’s first, 4 overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons showed just how much this young man has taken his own Bulls by their collective horns.
In a way, Mr. Rose is just as responsible for Jimmy’s rise to the top of the Bulls ranks as he is himself for all the hard work he has put in. Rose’s many and varying injuries have given Jimmy the opportunity to be in situation after situation where a big play is needed and he has stepped up repeatedly the last couple of years. This trial by fire has served him very well. Because if the different scenarios in which the Bulls have needed either a defensive stop, a big bucket or a pass to a teammate to push them over the top, it has been Butler that has stepped up to do it. He has been able to take care of these differing hard court situations because of the time he has put in to get there.
Butler’s work ethic is well known not only within the Bulls locker room but around the league as well. He is respected by opposing players and coaches and because of that respect, he is always getting everybody’s best shot. But it is how he has used these best shots to better himself and in turn, better his team that is so impressive. Trying to post Jimmy up? Well, time for him to sure up his post defense. Trying to take him to the hole off the dribble? Time to do lateral movement drills. Trying to pick him constantly on offensive sets. Time to hit the weights. Trying to run him up and down the floor by going small against him and his team? Time to hit the nearest pavement for an intense cardio session. Trying to send him to the line? Time to work on your charity stripe stroke. Butler’s work ethic is the number one reason he is where he is.
But not that far behind is reason number two, which really is 1.a actually. It is his “IT” factor. We have as a society heard about this factor that has existed for a long time in all walks of life but there is no exact definition. It can BE defined but only individually. Mr. Butler shows this factor when he leads by example and temperament in the big moments. His playmaking for teammates with and without the ball along with his cool and calm demeanor with a pinch of edge has been the real difference. This “IT” factor has enabled him to take the reins as the team’s top baller from Mr. Rose even if Derrick doesn’t realize it yet.
Jimmy Butler has become the new leader of the Chicago Bulls. You won’t hear him say it out loud but all you have to do is pay attention and see what the Butler has and continues to “do.”