Sometimes, nothing motivates an athlete more than playing in a contract year. An athlete's play in his/her contract year could mean the difference between millions and millions of dollars each year. For a young athlete, you generally see their best season come in their first contract year. This case could be made for Jimmy Butler. Although money is seemingly and reportedly not an issue for Butler and his camp, it's clear that Butler is making his case for the fact that he should have a nice payday after this season is over. Butler is in his 4th season in the NBA, all with the Bulls. Statistically, Butler has made several leaps in each and every season. His play this season is indicative of many things, but one thing is certain: Jimmy Butler should be an All-Star this season.
Butler is having the best season of his career statistically. His 21.3 points per game this season are an astronomical leap from his 13.1 last season. The amazing part about that is that the Bulls have more depth this season. Heading into the season, many thought Butler would be a 4th option on offense. 10 games into the season, Butler is leading the team in points per game. Among shooting guards, Butler is ranked 4th in the NBA in points per game and leads the top-5 shooting guards in field goal percentage, shooting an efficient 53.3% from the field. Among shooting guards in the Eastern Conference, Butler is ranked 1st in points per game. That is the first tell-tale sign that Butler should be an All-Star this season.
Ironman Jimmy Butler is also second in the NBA in minutes per game, playing a shade under 40 minutes per game. Butler is a co-anchor of Chicago's defense that allows opponents to score 97.8 points per game. While that is only good enough for 12th in the league, the Bulls hold opponents to 42.8% shooting, which is good enough for 6th in the league. The Bulls tend to rush opponents into taking mid-range jumpers as they are statistically the hardest shot to make, and there's only a handful of people who can be considered better than Jimmy Butler at that.
Among shooting guards in the Eastern Conference, Butler trails only Dwyane Wade in player efficiency rating, notching a 23.2 PER. Among the players in the top-20 for PER rankings, Butler trails only Brandon Jennings and Tyson Chandler in terms of least amount of usage. Butler's game this season is all about efficiency. He is getting to the free throw line more than ever, grabbing more rebounds than ever, dishing more assists than ever, and scoring more (and more efficiently) than ever. Statistically, he is one of the top shooting guards in the NBA. Although he probably won't be voted as an All-Star starter, Butler should be voted onto the All-Star team. With the way he is playing right now, it'd be a crime if he was one of the snubs this season.