Chicago Bulls: Why Jimmy Butler Deserves More Playing Time

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIMarch 14, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 03:  Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls sets to defend against the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center on January 3, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hawks 76-74. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls drafted Jimmy Butler with the 30th pick in the draft last June. So far this season he has played in only 25 of the team's first 44 games and is averaging less than nine minutes per game.

I think it is time we started to see a lot more of him.

If you follow me on Twitter, you will know this is not a new topic for me. I have been on the Butler bandwagon since they drafted him.

Out of those 25 games, he has received meaningful playing time in only three games which were not blowouts. Interestingly enough he set season highs in the past two games.

Butler has played 28 and 29 minutes respectively in the past two games. He scored eight points in each game and provided much needed energy and some pretty good defense.

Interesting to also note that before these last two games, the most minutes he played in a game were 21, which came in a 105-102 victory over the Knicks in early February.

More than a quarter of the minutes he has played this season have come in two games against the Knicks. Butler has logged 193 minutes this season and 50 of them have been against New York.

Isn't it time we see more of him, especially considering the injury issues to Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng?

I sure think so. Wouldn't you prefer to see Butler guarding LeBron James or Dwyane Wade on Wednesday night rather then Kyle Korver?

MIAMI, FL - MAY 22:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives for a shot attempt against Kyle Korver #26 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami,
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I know I would and I think it's time coach Tom Thibodeau starts finding more playing time for him and he should continue to receive playing time even when Hamilton and Deng return.

For the Bulls this season, it is all about beating the Heat and getting to the NBA Finals. If they want to accomplish that they will need to be healthy come playoff time.

With the way things are going, the Bulls will be lucky if Hamilton is healthy come playoff time and with Deng, who knows as he struggles with this wrist injury.

My feeling is Butler is the perfect answer to conserving both of them.

Butler is more then capable of filling in for Deng just a few minutes a night so he can play around 35 minutes a night instead of the close to 40 he has been playing. With Hamilton out, the Bulls have had to rely on Korver a lot while they could just as easily rely on Butler for defensive purposes.

Let's hope coach Thibodeau continues this current trend and we see a lot of Butler against the Heat. If we don't it will be interesting to see how many points Wade and James score against Korver.


Make sure to follow me on Twitter @dachicagofan, and check out my weekly Bulls podcast every Wednesday on my site, The MG Experience.