The seasons are changing as Fall hits us next week and that means Basketball is right around the corner.
Both the NBA and college hoops will begin within the next month or so and that means rankings! Every major publication that covers the NBA seems to do rankings and people actually still care about them, believe it or not.
The latest comes from Sports Illustrated, who is counting down their top 100 players for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
Center Robin Lopez was the first Bulls player to make the list, coming in at number 82. Then came free agent signing Dwyane Wade who is number 32 on the list.
While those two will play big roles in whatever success the Bulls will have this year, but they aren’t the focal point. That belongs to Jimmy Butler.
After the departure of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, both going to New York, it’s now Jimmy’s team. It’s also Jimmy’s time to shine. The guard has a ton of talent and is easily the Bulls’ best player. But what does Sports Illustrated think?
They think highly enough of Butler to place him at number 16 on the list. Here’s what Sports Illustrated writes on Butler:
Almost as soon as the 26-year-old Butler arrived, he was left as the last man standing. The good news: Butler (20.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.6 SPG) is, much like Paul George before him, a two-way game-changer whose stabilizing presence makes it possible for management to pursue a dramatic makeover. While the 2016 All-Star and All-NBA Third Team selection remains a cut below the NBA’s A-list wings, he is dynamic enough on offense and committed enough on defense to carry a team to respectability as long as he can stay healthy. The most curious aspect of Chicago’s retooling effort, however, is how few of the moves seemed to play to Butler’s strengths. Fred Hoiberg’s softer touch led to some friction last year. Rajon Rondo will take touches away. Dwyane Wade, pitched as some sort of star mentor to Butler, feels more like unnecessary competition for attention and shots.
Sports Illustrated has more tidbits in the article including the missed connection with Rose. Butler climbed two spots from his ranking in 2015.
The Bulls will open up training camp in late September and then play their first preseason game on October 3rd against the Milwaukee Bucks.