Bulls

Report: Bulls' Jimmy Butler to be named Most Improved Player

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Report: Bulls' Jimmy Butler to be named Most Improved Player

Jimmy Butler's career year will earn him some hardware as well

Butler is expected to be named the NBA's Most Improved Player, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein.

In his fourth NBA season the 25-year-old Butler averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He increased his field goal percentage more than six percentage points, from 39.7 percent in 2013-14 to 46.2 percent this season. Butler also led the NBA in minutes per game for the second straight year, with his offensive outburst transforming him into one of the league's top two-way guards.

[NBC SHOP: Buy a Jimmy Butler jersey!]

Butler's breakout season couldn't have gotten off to a better start, with the 6-foot-5 guard earning Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors for the season's first month (October/November), averaging 21.9 points on 50 percent shooting. He was just as good in December, averaged 21.5 points in nearly 41 minutes per game while keeping the Bulls afloat amidst numerous injuries to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. He was named an Eastern Conference All-Star in February.

Though his production dipped some after the All-Star break, and he was sidelined for 11 games after suffering a hyperextended elbow in March. He returned to average 19.7 points in the Bulls' final 11 games in which the team went 8-3 to earn the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Butler proved his regular season was no fluke by dominating the Bulls' first-round series with the Bucks. In the six-game set Butler averaged 24.1 points on 47 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He set his playoff career high in Game 2 when he netted 31 points in a win. He's now tabbed with slowing down LeBron James in their second round series with the Cavaliers.

[PLAYOFFS: Butler tasked with slowing down LeBron James]

Butler has come a long way since his arrival in Chicago. A first-round selection in 2011, Butler averaged just 8.5 minutes as a rookie. He saw an uptick in playing time in his second year, appearing in all 82 games (20 as a starter) as a valuable defensive stalwart off the bench. He entered the starting lineup in Year 3, averaging 13.1 points before showing flashes of greatness in that year's playoffs, averaging 13.6 points.

Previous Most Improved Player winners include Goran Dragic (2014), Paul George (2013), Ryan Anderson (2012) and Kevin Love (2011). Bulls reverse point guard Aaron Brooks won the award in 2010 as a member of the Houston Rockets. Butler is the first player to win the award as a member of the Bulls.

Coby White leads the way, receives votes in 5 categories of annual NBA Rookie Survey

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USA TODAY

Coby White leads the way, receives votes in 5 categories of annual NBA Rookie Survey

The NBA's annual Rookie Survey was released on Monday, and there's a whole lot of Coby White love sprinkled throughout it. As John Schuhmann pointed out in his write-up, White and Celtics point guard Carsen Edwards tied for the lead by receiving votes in a survey-high five different categories.

Here's what rookies think of White's game.

Who will be the 2019-20 Kia Rookie of the Year?

1. Zion Williamson, Pelicans (35%)
2. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (27%)
3. R.J. Barrett, Knicks/Cam Reddish, Hawks (5% each)

Also receiving votes: Coby White, Bulls; 9 others

Thoughts: One aspect White has working in his favor is his position: Beginning with Kyrie Irving in 2012, six of the last eight Rookies of the Year have been point guards. Realistically, White's path to Rookie of the Year consideration is bumpy. The Bulls gave Tomas Satoransky $30 million to eat up a bulk of the point-guard minutes, and Kris Dunn is still on the roster battling for minutes with White. The rook's best path to RoY consideration would be carving out a Sixth Man role, similar to what Ben Gordon did in 2004.

Which rookie will have the best career?

1. Cam Reddish, Hawks (19%)
2. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (16%)
3. De'Andre Hunter, Hawks (11%)
4. Coby White, Bulls (5%)
4. Zion Williamson, Pelicans (5%)
4. Jaxson Hayes, Pelicans (5%)
4. R.J. Barrett, Knicks (5%)

Others receiving votes: 12 others

Thoughts: OK then. White received the same number of votes in this category as Zion Williamson, who has superstar written all over him. This one is basically impossible to predict, but it's feasible that White could wind up being the best player from his class. He was the 7th overall pick, after all. Also, remember that Wendell Carter Jr. received the most votes in this category a year ago. The Bulls are well represented.

Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was drafted?

1. Bol Bol, Nuggets (19%)
1. Kevin Porter, Cavs (19%)
3. Coby White, Bulls (5%)
3. Nassir Litte/Isaiah Roby/Grant Williams/Carsen Edwards (5%)

Others receiving votes: 12 others

Thoughts: It was interesting to see White's name on this list. It's tough to make an argument that White should have gone in front of any of the six players taken before him in June. If anything, the Bulls' other rookie is feeling like a steal where he was drafted. Daniel Gafford had a mighty impressive Summer League as the No. 41 overall pick. Fun fact: The only Bulls rookie to ever top this category was Erik Murphy in 2013. That didn't work out so well.

Which rookie is the best defender?

1. Matisse Thybulle, Sixers (37%)
2. De'Andre Hunter, Hawks (29%)
3. Brandon Clarke/Jaxson Hayes/Nassir Litte (8%)

Others receiving votes: Coby White, Bulls; 3 others

Thoughts: Another interesting inclusion for White, who certainly has the speed and size to be a plus defender. His wing span isn't anything to write home about but White should be able to keep up with the league average defense at the position. In such a guard-heavy league, simply keeping your counterpart to his season average is usually a plus. White should, at the very least, be able to do just that.

Which rookie is the best playmaker?

1. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (40%)
2. Darius Garland, Cavs (15%)
3. Coby White, Bulls (10%)
3. Ty Jerome, Cavs (10%)
5. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Pelicans (8%)

Others receiving votes: 4 others

Thoughts: Point guards dominated this category, and for good reason. White isn't a natural point guard but he's a blur in transition and looked pretty comfortable in Summer League working pick-and-roll action. The Bulls' rookie is going to have more than a handful of "wow" moments as a playmaker, so he's deserving of this spot on the list.

'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10

On Friday ESPN revealed that the next film in their award-winning 30 for 30 series will focus on the life of former Bull and Hall of Fame forward Dennis Rodman. 

The film—which is titled "Rodman: For Better or Worse" will detail Rodman's journey to becoming a Hall of Famer and five-time NBA Champion. The documentary will detail Rodman's difficult upbringing in Dallas, his dominant run at Southeastern Oklahoma State and his development into one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history. 

While Rodman is no doubt one of the greatest talents in NBA history, he is just as famous for his intriguing and oftentimes shocking off the court exploits. Rodman: For Better or Worse will discuss Rodman diving into international diplomacy issues and all of the deeper reasons behind him becoming the interesting character that we know him as today. 

The documentary will feature interviews from former teammates and coaches of Rodman's, including Bill Laimbeer,  John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, and Phil Jackson. 

Rodman: For Better or Worse will be directed by Todd Kapostasy. 

Kapostasy is a seven-time Emmy Award winner. He wrote and directed 2016 documentary 'Confessions of a Cubs Fan: A Century of Waiting', which focused on the idea that winning isn't everything in sports amid the backdrop of the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series.

“Rodman: For Better or Worse” released on September 10, at 8 p.m. CT

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