Here it is, in all its glory:
Fred Hoiberg says Jimmy Butler told him before the game that he was going for 40 tonight.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) November 21, 2016
This is damned impressive, though I think Butler is the type who predicts he’s going for 40 before every game. He’s been known to say he’s the best player in the world.
Well...is he? He’s getting up there!
Jimmy' rank in various advanced stats— Kelly Scaletta (@KellyScaletta) November 21, 2016
Anyone else with those numbers we call a top 5 player.
And his off-court qualities have apparently improved as well.
Having a superstar like Butler can mask a lot of flaws. So the Bulls roster may have trouble spacing? Butler is shooting over 41% from three, and his driving/playmaking allows for guys like Nikola Mirotic and Isaiah Canaan to get more open looks. Their point guard situation is pretty bad? Jimmy becomes James Harden and handles the ball. Defense may have holes? Butler is still giving incomparable effort on that end and shutting guys like Gordon Hayward down.
Here’s a take: maybe it was fair to reason the Bulls wouldn’t be good this year. But what’s now looking more clear is that a team with Jimmy Butler can’t be bad.