The NBA named Jimmy Butler as Most Improved Player Thursday morning, as the guard was a runaway winner of the award in his breakout season for the Bulls.
Butler received 92 of 129 first-place votes and 535 total points from sportswriters and broadcasters, more total points than the two runners-up, Golden State's Draymond Green and Utah's Rudy Gobert, who combined for 389 points.
[MORE BULLS: Noah easygoing about Cardale Jones, interaction with fan]
Butler led the Bulls in scoring with 20 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals. Butler's scoring and production has increased in every season since being drafted in 2011, and his 6.9-point increase in scoring average was the best in the NBA this season.
After word began to break early in Game 2 of the Bulls-Cavaliers series, Butler was too upset with himself to reflect on the award.
[NBC SHOP: Buy a Jimmy Butler jersey!]
"Not too much right now. I’m focused on helping this ballclub win some games," Butler said. "I want to win this series, I want to win a championship. At the end of the season, maybe this Most Improved Player Award will mean a lot more."
Mark Carman, Jim Litke, and Jason Goch join Laurence on the panel.
0:00 - The Bulls frantic comeback falls short but Coby White has another 30-point game. So why isn't he starting? And was the game a "great loss"?
14:00 - JJ Stankevitz joins Laurence to talk about Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace's comments from the NFL Combine. Plus, why would Ryan Pace consider making Cordarrelle Patterson a running back on the team's depth chart?
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
In the final moments of a hard-fought 124-122 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night, Zach LaVine was caught on camera saying something to the effect of, "I've got 40 [expletive] points."
LaVine has been broadcast multiple times this season appearing to exhibit expasperation over late-game timeouts called by Jim Boylen, so some segments of NBA Twitter took this as another show of frustration towards the Bulls' head coach. But it seems that's not the case.
According to reporting by Eric Woodyard of ESPN, LaVine was merely jawing back and forth with Thunder guard Dennis Schröder. Common practice in a closely-contested game.
The report quotes LaVine, himself.
"You get into the heat of the battle and between players when you guys are talking, you talk smack sometimes, right? And that's all it was," LaVine told Woodyard. "We were still down. Dude was talking a little mess to me and I just let him know 'Look, I've got 40, I don't know why you're talking to me.
"I don't know why they said they thought I was talking to Jim but it was just people being competitive in the game talking."
In the play following the clip, LaVine nailed a pull-up 3-pointer from the logo for his 41st points of the night. It was LaVine's sixth 40-point game of the season, but despite his brilliance, the Bulls dropped to 20-39 and 1-9 in their last ten games with the defeat. A tale as old as time.
It's obviously been an up-and-down season for the Bulls, but consider this 'controversy' dead on arrival.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.