Thursday, January 24, 2013

Youngster Running the Show

by Patrick Ronald

  With the 30th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft the Chicago Bulls selected my boy Jimmy Butler from Marquette.

  I told many friends that this kid was for real and to keep an eye out for his jersey because I wanted to show my support for the basketball star from Houston.

  Assuming I can trust the media, which is obviously iffy after the Manti Te'o hoax story, Butler was abandoned by his father as an infant and kicked out of his mother's house at 13.

  Shortly after being drafted for the Bulls - I was excited.

  A quiet, humble, hard working kid, who is a hardcore defender, was a perfect fit to play on the Bulls with players like Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.

  The Bulls selected a youngster who was going to fit in nicely and complement the fundamentals of Tom Thibodeau's hard working and defending philosophy.

  According to one NBA general manager shortly before the 2011 draft, Butler's story is one of the most remarkable basketball stories.

  "There were so many times in his life where he was set up to fail," the unnamed GM said.  "Every time, he overcame just enormous odds."

  He added that Butler is hesitant to talk about his life and he had a feeling Butler was destined for greatness.

  Butler rode the bench most of his rookie season.

  He averaged 8.5 minutes a game in 42 games in the NBA lockout shortened season.  He only averaged 2.6 points per game and 1.3 rebounds a game.

  Yet, he didn't make a peep.  He didn't complain.  He wasn't in the running for rookie of the year.

  Now, recently with Deng's aggravated hamstring Butler's playing time has increased as he has hopped into the starting line up.

  Happily, we watched him drop 18 points against Memphis and 18 more against Detroit.

  Oh yeah - he shut down Kobe Bryant, who is arguably the league's most dominant scorer.

  It's a no brainer that Deng will take is starting spot back after he recovers from his injury, but it is a pleasant surprise to see a draft pick look so good.

  Butler is here to stay and it's exciting to see him blossom before our very eyes.  We have a dominant, lock down defender, who is 23 years old.

  It's exciting baby.  The Bulls are looking great and we're all anticipating DRose's return.  The playoffs are going to be exciting - especially when we can look forward to our second year standout Jimmy Butler, who has been playing like a champion.