When discussing the very best players in the NBA, does Jimmy Butler’s name belong in the conversation along with stars like LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant?
Fred Hoiberg apparently thinks so.
According to ESPN, the Bulls coach said Tuesday that he “absolutely” believes Butler “has reached elite status in this league.”
“You can see every game I think he’s getting more comfortable as far as overall, where last year he was in less ball screens, more isolation type actions,” Hoiberg said. “This year he’s really added that element to his game. The ball-handling, his ability to get to the rim, using a ball screen, his three point shot if the defense tries to go under on him. And then he’s always had that elite defensive mindset as well.”
Butler’s status has never been higher than it is right now, just two days removed from his 40-point second-half against the Raptors, a performance that broke Michael Jordan’s 27-year-old record.
His real plus-minus ranks him as the 19th best player in the NBA, and Butler’s RPM wins total of 5.5 ranks him 13th.
It’s clear, at this point, that the Bulls will go only as far as Butler can take them.
“He’s such a complete player and it’s a testament to what he does in the offseason,” Hoiberg said, via ESPN. “He just continues to add new elements to his game. He was in here at 8 o’clock this morning getting shots up. And he’s never satisfied and I think that’s the true sign of a superstar when you continue to work when you have success.”
Chicago can become the sole possessor of second place in the Eastern Conference with a win tonight against Milwaukee.
WATCH: Jimmy Butler goes off against Toronto
Stats via ESPN