The Chicago Bulls are tied 1-1 with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round series of their quest to win the ultimate prize. However, one Bull is about to get a nice piece of hardware all his own.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Bulls’ All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler will win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
Sources say Butler could be officially introduced as the league’s MIP award winner as early as Thursday, with Friday’s Game 3 at home against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semifinals looming as a natural opportunity for the NBA to present Butler with the award in front of his home fans at the United Center.
Butler increased his scoring average from 13.1 points per game last season to 20.0 points this season despite missing 17 games due to injury. His shooting percentage also rose, from 39.7 percent to 46.2 percent. As a result, he made the Eastern Conference’s All-Star team for the first time in his career.
“I want to win this series, I want to win the championship, and at the end of the season, maybe that Most Improved award will mean a lot more,” Butler told reporters after the Bulls’ 106-91 Game 2 loss to Cleveland that evened the series.