Jimmy Butler is having a heck of a year for the Chicago Bulls, averaging 20 ppg.. The 25-year-old, who could be selected to his first NBA All Star Game, is NBA.com’s Sam Smith’s mid-season Most Improved Player.
Most Improved Player: Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
This is also an easy one as Butler’s rise to November Player of the Month—and that’s when LeBron was playing—the team’s leading scorer and a two-way go to guy has been equally unexpected in a season of great non expectations. It would have been an equally easy vote for Draymond Green if not for Butler. Green was a second round pick, thus even later than Butler, and has not only become a starter for the league’s best team but their best defender, a reliable three-point shooter and team energizer. He’s as close to a runaway leader as one can be.
It’s also good to see the top choices being low draft picks as sometimes voters will go for a top talent and high pick who was hurt or didn’t initially play well. These awards should be to players who no one saw coming. It’s too small a sample for now with Hassan Whiteside. He was showing that sort of play before the triple double with blocks against the Bulls. And not only did no one see it coming, but no one much wanted to give him a chance. It shows opportunity often transcends talent. So go with Rasual Butler third giving a big boost to the Wizards.
See Sam Smith’s other mid-season awards, including MVP, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and 6th Man of Year.