Over this past offseason, much of the attention on the Chicago Bulls centered around Jimmy Butler. There were serious questions about his maturity level. In light of that, his teammate Taj Gibson recently told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune that he is surprised by how much he has improved in that area.
“I’m surprised at how mature he is,” Gibson said. “He’s a lot more mature as far as how he’s been with the guys, how he’s communicating. He’s always critiquing the game, but he’s always positive.”
“Last year, he had his times where he was a little frustrated and he didn’t know how to let out. This year, having (Dwayne) Wade helps him a lot. He can learn from him. He can understand. And USA (Basketball) helped him out big time.”
There was plenty of turmoil last season caused from that aspect with Butler often times butting heads with head coach Fred Hoidberg. However, this season that hasn’t been the case as he has received much praise from his teammates in regards to his leadership and maturity, including from Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. This is a major turnaround for a player that was seen as the primary reason for the team’s struggles last year.
Butler’s major improvement in this aspect has helped him have a strong start to season averaging a career-high 25.1 points per game. He has taken well to his first season as the face of the franchise, and could very well see himself in the MVP conversation. All in all, his improved maturity could go a long ways to Chicago’s level of success this season and beyond.