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Fantasy Analysis | 1410983511
Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers |

Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had the breakout season many expected from him a year ago, but there were still plenty of flaws apparent in his game as he finished his third NBA season. With a better team around him, Butler just might have enough help to vault him to stardom.

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, 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. 

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Nick Markakis grabbing some pine Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin |

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis has been given the night off Wednesday with Toronto in town.

Markakis is in a 6-for-40 slide that has weakened his stat line to .272/.336/.375. His average is at its lowest point since April 16.

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Roddy White has played plenty of games without practicing
by Larry Hartstein |

Falcons receiver Roddy White wasn't on the field for Wednesday's walkthrough. He has not practiced all week ahead of Thursday's game with the Buccaneers.

But coaches and teammates expect White, who is questionable with a hamstring injury, to play and play well.

"Roddy has played plenty of games in his career without practice," offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. "Roddy has been in this offense for seven, eight years, since coach [Mike] Murlarkey came before me. Sometimes, you're worried about players, assignment-wise. But on a short week, you're not putting a complicated game plan [together] anyway. All the stuff that's in this game plan, Roddy knows it. When it's an experienced guy like Roddy, it's way more about his health than about 'Is he going to know what to do?'

"If Roddy's healthy, if he's able to go full speed, he'll play good."

Fellow wideout Julio Jones told that White is "going to be fine. He always comes back."

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Oilers' Gordon In Line To Serve As No. 3 Center
by null None | null
Gordon is expected to serve as the Oilers' No. 3 center to begin the season,'s Pierre LeBrun reports.
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Tom Coughlin wants more from Victor Cruz
by Larry Hartstein |

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he expects better play from receiver Victor Cruz, who had three drops in the Week 2 loss to the Cardinals. "He agreed with me and he's working toward doing something about that," Coughlin said of his meeting with Cruz.

The Giants host Houston on Sunday. Cruz has seven catches for 84 yards this season and has not scored a touchdown in 12 straight games.

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