The Chicago Bulls dropped a tough game to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, but the team got a small consolation prize on Thursday morning as the NBA announced that forward Jimmy Butler had won the league’s Most Improved Player award.
Butler, who averaged 20 points and 5.8 rebounds per game during the regular season, ended up receiving 92 of the 128 first-place votes cast as he became the first Bulls player to ever secure the award. Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors finished in second place, securing 11 first place votes.
While Derrick Rose struggled through injury problems throughout the season, Butler was a constant source of offensive firepower for a Bulls team that ended up securing the third seed in the Eastern Conference. His ability to play well at that end of the floor, coupled with his solid defensive play, earned him respect and adulation throughout the league, and culminated in him being selected to the NBA All-Star Game in February.
Even with the award and the prospect of cashing in at the end of the season when he hits restricted free agency, Butler only has one thing on his mind at the moment: finishing off the Cavaliers.
“If we don’t get to four wins in this series, that award means nothing,” he told the media Wednesday night.