For several seasons, Chicago Bulls fans have had their hopes and aspirations shattered by the repetitive injuries of Derrick Rose. While fans have entrusted Rose as their leader and their future, Rose can’t do his part and stay healthy.
After winning the Most Valuable Player award in 2010, it looked like Chicago was going to be a menacing force for years to come. But Derrick Rose’s injury-ridden career has toyed with the team. In the 2011-12 season, Rose tore his ACL in his left knee during the first game of the playoffs. This led to his absence for the entire 2012-2013 season.
Once the 2013-14 season started, no news was bigger than the return of Derrick Rose. His comeback started very slowly, 15.9 points on a sloppy 35.4 FG%- and it came to a halt when he tore the meniscus in his right knee only 10 games into the season which turned out to be a season ending injury. Last season, an up and down one for Derrick Rose, did show some flashes of his previous form, such as a 32 point game against the Wizards and also handing the Warriors one of only two home losses all year with a 30-point performance, but he also performed vey poorly in many games.
- December 6th, Warriors: 9 points, 18% fg, 6 assists
- January 7th, Utah: 7 points, 20% fg, 2 assists
- February 20 @Detroit: 8 points, 22% fg, 2 assists
He missed 20 games last season because he tore his meniscus again (in the same knee), but this time it was less serious. Rose recently fractured a bone in his face during the first practice of training camp and he has already undergone surgery and is scheduled to be able to practice next week.
Hope is fading for the 2010 MVP to regain his old glory. Exit Derrick Rose. Enter Jimmy Butler.
Butler has emerged as the leader of the Bulls, In fact, the Bulls are Jimmy Butler’s team now. They recently signed Butler to a 5-year, $95 million dollar contract as an acknowledgement of his ascension. Butler earned his contract with a spectacular season and also by leading the team while Rose was injured. Previously, Butler had established himself as a stingy defender which earned him a spot on the NBA All-Defensive second team in his third season. He stepped up offensively in his fourth season as a pro, avering 20 points and 5.3 assists per game and being named an All-Star. He has increased his scoring average every season of his career.
- 2011-12: 2.6 points
- 2012-13: 8.6 points
- 2013-14: 13.1 points
- 2014-15: 20.0 points
Butler was the winner of the Most Improved Player award. After a great season, fans are expecting more from Butler that being a Derrick Rose sidekick.
New head coach Fred Hoiberg was complimentary about Butler.
“He’s in great shape, another guy where the amount of work he put in in the summer is paying off. He’s probably in the best shape of anybody out here. He’s all over the floor, offensively, defensively. There aren’t a lot of two-way players in this league, but Jimmy is definitely one of them. Jimmy was phenomenal. All the hard work he put in this offseason you can tell. He added new elements to his game. He was terrific.”
At only 25 years old, Jimmy Butler is a confident, humble leader. Bulls center, Joakim Noah is impressed.
“You can see already he’s leading by example every day, bringing in guys, working after practice. I like what he’s doing. I think he’s making it an emphasis.”
With Derrick Rose’s injury history and performance inconsistencies, Butler has no choice but to step up as the leader. The Chicago Bulls, a team that has been in the playoffs the past 7 seasons but has never made it to the Finals in the 16 year post-Jordan era, need to trust in another player besides Rose to lead them into the NBA Finals.
Here he is Chicago. Jimmy Butler.
photo via llananba