Waiver Wire Watchlist – Jimmy Butler
The Bulls are currently sitting at 7-7 and tied with the Charlotte Bobcats for the number eight seed in the East. If they don’t pick it up soon or if it becomes clear that the Pacers are going to pass them, it might be wise for the Bulls to start looking toward next season. If they do, Jimmy Butler could be in line for playing time later this season and could make a great bench stash, especially in keeper leagues.
The Bulls currently have soon to be 35 year old Rip Hamilton manning the SG spot and he hasn’t been exactly lighting it up lately. There’s also a good possibility that they decide to amnesty Carlos Boozer. And of course, everyone knows that Derrick Rose might not return this season. There’s also the possibility that Luol Deng could opt for the wrist surgery that he’s been putting off for over a year if the Bulls fall far enough out of the race. If the Bulls decide to tank it this season, Taj Gibson, Marquis Teague and Jimmy Butler could all get some developmental minutes.
So far, Butler has been more of a defensive minded player, but his offense is progressing to the point where his shot selection is better and Thibodeau seems to be slowly working him into some backup minutes. Butler is currently averaging 5.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in 15.6 MPG. If you take a look at his per/36 stats, that works out to 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. Not bad for a 23 year old, but the most encouraging thing for Butler is that he’s raised his FG% from 40.5% last season to 52% this year. He’s also a career 81.5% free throw shooter. We’re still dealing with a small sample this season, but there is clearly some improvement there.
I wouldn’t pick Butler up just yet, unless you are in a very deep keeper league. Put him on your watchlist for now and keep an eye on how the Bulls progress as a team during January. If it looks like the wheels are coming off and they begin looking toward next season, you may want grab Butler for a late season run.