Butler's jump shot abandoned him last season, especially after a toe injury forced him to miss 11 games in November and December. He was shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range prior to the injury, but connected on just 39.3 percent of his shots overall and 27.1 percent from three-point range from that point on.
We can blame Butler's season-long shooting slump on the injury or his increased offensive role, but he should have neither excuse available for him this season. Butler should be healthy, and the Bulls added plenty of offensive firepower this offseason, in the form of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott, not to mention a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose. Butler took 154 shots off the dribble last season, per Stats.NBA.com, and made just 30.7 percent of them. With a better team around him, Butler should get many more opportunities to shoot with his feet set.
Butler has the skill set to be a tremendously efficient offensive player, given how often he bullies his way to the free-throw line. Last season, Butler filled up the box score extremely well, but his poor shooting limited his Fantasy value somewhat. If a new role helps his efficiency, he could be one of the very best guards in the league in category-based formats.
The Bulls will likely take a cautious approach with Butler and allow him to quickly recover in the offseason, likely leaving him out of the FIBA World Cup squad for Team USA.
The 24-year-old finished last season with averages of 13.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 67 games. He also made the All-Defensive Second Team and finished third amongst forwards with 1.9 steals per contest.
For just the second time in his three-year career, Butler attempted at least 10 field goals while making just one. He shot 1for 11 from the field while missing all four of his three-point attempts. He did go 3 for 4 from the free-throw line en route to five points, while adding five rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes of action.
Butler has been in a bit of a slump with his shot through the month of March, though he is still averaging 14.1 points per game. He is shooting just 36.7 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from three-point range in eight games this month.
Butler played 46 minutes in the win including the final 26 minutes, as the Bulls did not pull away until the fourth quarter. He scored 18 points on 7 of 15 shooting, and added 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. He also added four assists, three steals and three turnovers to his line.
Butler isn't the most productive per-minute player in the league, but he puts up strong numbers consistently thanks to his high minute totals. He is averaging 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game over the last five, while playing 42.4 minutes per.
Butler sat out the previous two games but looked no worse for wear Wednesday, tallying three blocks, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win. He has averaged 12.5 points and 4.9 rebounds over 42 games played.
|10/29/2013 vs. MIA|
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|Career Shooting Stats|
|More Postseason Stats|
|College Career Shooting Stats|
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