NBA

Jimmy Butler.

The Bulls have given Jimmy Butler what he wanted and must now take centre stage

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Jimmy Butler finally got his wish. He has taken over the reins of the Chicago Bulls, at least on the court, and has become the face of the franchise. 

The Bull's decision to offload hometown star Derrick Rose immediately meant one thing: this is Butler's team now. The organisation didn't have to say it, we all knew. 

Chicago has told him he's the man, but it's now time for him to become exactly that and prove that they made the right decision. 

Responsibility

There aren't many who would question the Bulls' decision to make Butler the franchise player. Over the course of the last three seasons he has proven himself to be one of the best two-way guards in the entire league. 

Rose's injury problems opened the door for Jimmy to take centre stage and he did just that. In the last three years he has become a two-time All-Star, a three-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection, winner of the Most Improved Player award and an Olympic Gold Medalist. 

He was selected 30th in round one of the 2011 draft and was by no means expected to become the star he is today. Through hard work and sheer dedication, Butler has made himself one of the most talented players in the NBA.

However, this upcoming campaign will be the 27-year-old's biggest so far. The responsibility of guiding the Bulls back to the playoffs after disappointingly missing out last season will fall on his shoulders. 

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers

The team may have acquired Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, but they've also made it clear that this is Butler's team and they're the supporting cast.

"This is Jimmy Butler's team," Wade said at his introductory press conference. "Myself and (Rajon) Rondo are here to bring what we bring as athletes to this team and to this city. (Butler's) a young bull on this team. He's a 26-year-old that can play 40 minutes a game if coach wants him to and maybe more. I ain't trying to do all that. And we're going to depend on him a lot."

Rondo added: "It's Jimmy's team. Jimmy, Wade and then whatever after that."

No pressure then Jimmy.

Houston Rockets v Chicago Bulls

Step up

The pressure is part and parcel of becoming a leader and Butler has shown that he has the character to step up and thrive under it. 

This is what he wanted and if he wasn't ready for the moment he wouldn't have worked as hard as he has done to get here. 

With big personalities like Rose and Joakim Noah now out of the picture, it's time for him to take the spotlight.

Per Nick Friedell of ESPN, Butler was still viewed in some corners as the little brother who was constantly in the shadow of some of his older siblings. That's a large reason why he looked so content and wore a quick smile on his face during last Monday's media day.

Golden State Warriors v Chicago Bulls

"I think everybody that's on this roster now just knows how hard that I've worked to get to this spot that I'm at," Butler said. "They've seen it. They've witnessed it. All they've been around for me is this point of my career. I don't know if it sounds bad, but I think that all these guys look at, 'If Jimmy

"I don't know if it sounds bad, but I think that all these guys look at, 'If Jimmy work like that and if I work like that, I'll be in the same position that he's in.' I'll be more than happy to let you have that position because I think hard work can get you anywhere that you want to get to."

Having a player like Wade - a fellow Marquette product - on his team will only help make Butler a better player. The former Miami Heat has won three championships and has experienced being given the reins to a team and handing it over. 

The veteran has immense confidence that his new teammate can adapt to any role within the team and he's willing to do whatever he can to help him become better as a result.

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

"I think he's going to be comfortable in every role," Wade said. "I don't see that being a problem with Jimmy at all. I think it's my job to help him in ways that I see he can be better ... And I think me and Rondo coming in and saying that early is just giving him the confidence that he didn't have to worry about taking a step back or anything.

"Shaq did the same thing for me when he came to Miami. Just the mental approach to the game from him saying them words to me, allowing me to go out and just play my game. That's all we want him to do, play his game."

The time is now for Jimmy Butler, this is his moment. 

Topics:
NBA
Jimmy Butler
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat
Southeast Division

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