Chicago Bulls like the progress Jimmy Butler is showing

Jonathan Daniel

Second-year Bulls forward Jimmy Butler continues to make strides as a vital cog off Tom Thibodeau's bench.

The 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Chicago Bulls small forward Jimmy Butler continues to emerge as a solid contributor for head coach Tom Thibodeau in his second season in the league.

The 6'7", 220-pound Butler is averaging 5.4 points and 2.9 rebounds over just 16.8 minutes per night, and has been a vital asset late in games for a Chicago team that has been riddled with injuries. Along with chipping in 13 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line to help beat the Mavericks on Nov. 28, Butler is currently riding a stretch where he's scored at least three points in 13 straight games.

Though he remains behind a rock-solid option like Luol Deng on the team's depth chart at small forward, the 23-year-old Butler currently sports the fourth-highest player efficiency rating (PER) on the Bulls at 16.0, a mark that ranks slightly ahead of Deng's 15.7. While opportunities to show his skills were few and far between as a rookie, Butler's strong play to kick off the season likely ensures that he'll be a regular in Thibodeau's rotation for the rest of the year.

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