Injuries and changing personnel have made that position somewhat of a revolving door during the Thibodeau era.
Thibs started his first head coaching season with Keith Bogans starting at the 2-guard and switched to veteran Richard Hamilton for the next two seasons. But due to Hamilton’s proneness to injury, there have been many fill-ins along the way.
Now that Hamilton has been bought out, the Bulls have looked in-house to fill the vacancy, and young Butler has gotten the call.
It would be very hard to argue against this decision.
Butler not only proved himself to be a hard worker at both ends of the floor last season, but he also grew as the year progressed. He showed tremendous maturity as a youngster responding to increasing responsibilities.
He seems poised to finally give Thibodeau and the Bulls a consistent contributor to pair with All-Star and MVP point guard Derrick Rose.
Although Butler’s budding offensive skill set is bound to serve the team well, the most intriguing element of this new dynamic has to be the defensive implications.
In Deng’s absence last season, Butler did a spectacular job of guarding James, much to a lot of basketball fans’ surprise.
With a starting five that will consist of Rose, Butler, Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, the Bulls will have a pretty formidable front for challenging the potent one-two punch that is Dwyane Wade and James.
Granted, this move does not solve all the team’s problems.
Cap issues are once again forcing the front office to get very creative with putting together a second unit that can produce enough to give the starters necessary rest.
Signing Mike Dunleavy Jr. gives Chicago some offensive firepower in the second unit, and Marquis Teague has shown some signs of improvement during the Las Vegas Summer League; however, there is still a need for at least one more big man and another shooter.
Remaining personnel issues aside, promoting Butler fills a huge gap and should make it easier for the powers-that-be to round out the roster.
There is no doubt that Butler deserves this new role, and it is just as certain that he will respond in great fashion, much like last season.
This move may prove to be the biggest boon for the Bulls outside of Rose's return.