There’s so much to be attributed for Jimmy Butler’s breakout 2014-2015 campaign. Improved handles. A burgeoning post-game. Health. Additions of Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol. The list goes on. But what sticks out most to us this season compared to last about Butler’s wildly improved play is his explosiveness. Watch the Chicago Bulls star put that on display by going back-door on the always-gambling Corey Brewer and finishing a powerful alley-oop during the first half of his team’s 114-105 win over the Houston Rockets.
Dwight Howard wanted no part of that aerial battle. Makes sense to us.
But the best thing about Butler’s impact, of course, is that it comes on both ends of the floor. The fourth-year wing held James Harden – basketball’s leading scorer at 27.0 points per game – to just three points on 0-of-9 shooting over the game’s final 24 minutes. Related: Houston scored just 43 second-half points.
The “best shooting guard” debate is a futile one. There’s just too much noise associated with team-by-team player performance and too many disparate holes in individual games to make Harden, Klay Thompson, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, or anyone else a clear-cut choice for that distinction.
But Butler is making a pretty convincing case every time he takes the floor. In shutting down Harden while contributing 22 points of his own last night, he made perhaps his most foolproof one yet.
What do you think?
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