Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler will reportedly be rewarded with the Most Improved Player award for 2015 after a stellar year for the franchise this season.
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Butler has taken great strides this season to become a real force on both ends of the court for Chicago, and having added a consistent offensive threat to his game, he has rightly been rewarded with the Most Improved Player title.
The 25-year-old reportedly turned down a four-year contract offer worth $40m from the Bulls last summer, and it appears as though that was a right move as he will expect to be heavily rewarded at the end of the season ahead of free agency with a max deal.
Chicago have seen their shooting guard average 20.0 points, 3.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game in the regular season, and he has taken that form into the post-season having now averaged 24.1 points through the first seven games.
The development of different areas of his game are there for all to see, as his shooting, post play and overall contribution have improved over the last year.
One of the main criticisms of the Bulls in recent years was their inability to find the ideal foil alongside Derrick Rose, and while their former MVP has been plagued by injuries, Butler has emerged as the team’s leading threat on many occasions.
However, while he will certainly be delighted to see his efforts rewarded with individual recognition, this year will be considered a failure if he is unable to guide the Bulls to a championship.
The two-way guard has insisted that he doesn’t regard himself as being a superstar, and he is adamant that he will continue to work hard in order to improve his game further.
A win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semi-finals will certainly add to the argument though, particularly if he continues to match-up with LeBron James and limit the two-time NBA champion while continuing to be a threat offensively.