Jimmy Butler will head to New Orleans this February to join in on the All-Star Game festivities.
For a team that has lacked high points on the season, this one comes as no surprise to fans. With the reserves yet to be announced some fans are their best to lobby for hometown boy, Dwyane Wade. With the new format, voting breaks down as such, 50 percent fan voting 25 percent from players and the other 25 percent comes from a media panel. Under the old format Wade would have been and All-Star as he finished second in fan voting for the backcourt, but fell way short with fellow players and the media, finishing sixth in both. Now all Wade can do is wait and see if he makes in for the 13th time, while Butler will make his third trip but his first start.
For the fans and the organization, Jimmy Butler making another All-Star game does a few things for them. It shows they have a centerpiece they can build around, or this just increases his stock for a potential trade. Butler this season is putting up some great stats, 24.7 PPG 4.8 APG, and 6.6 RPG. He means much more to the team then just his stats, as he commands the offense when he is on the floor and is a vocal leader when needed. For Butler and the Bulls it is good to see a bright spot coming out of what is becoming a much more muddled season. HC Fred Hoiberg was proud and honored to have Butler selected to the All-Star game, and for a coach who is on the hot seat with fans, he hopes Wade can get in to boost his popularity a bit. But, the question becomes if Wade has enough to make it into another.
Voting to reserves is much different then voting for starters, as the coaches cast their vote for which they think should back up the starting five. The biggest conditions are coaches cannot vote for their own players, must vote two backcourt players, three frontcourt, and two “wild card” players. Wade will have to hope for the best, as there are four players combined between backcourt and wild card that experts have in over Wade, and were on the ballot.
Those players are Isaiah Thomas, Kyle Lowry, John Wall, and Kemba Walker. Some have even thrown Derrick Rose into the mix with these players. When coaches vote it may not be the players with the best statistics that make it in, but rather which players the coaches think will have the biggest impact on the game for their respective conference. Statistically, Wade falls short to each player he may be going up against who is on the ballot, with only Derrick Rose having similar numbers this season. This season Wade has 18.7 PPG, 3.8 APG, and 4.2 RPG.
If Wade is to make it to another All-Star game he is going to have to hope the coaches will want another veteran player, and his tenure around the league carries some impact. For a game that means nothing, and is more for the fans then anything now it is more likely to see some of the young and up and coming stars make the roster. On the court Wade becomes a liability with his knees, and can only play so many minutes now before he has to sit. There is no defense played in these games, so you don’t have to worry about him not sprinting back to stop a potential epic ally-op seen many times during the contest.
For the Bulls, be happy Jimmy Butler has been honored to show the team has not completely messed up in recent years with players, and hope Wade makes it so the signing looks like something more then just a move to fill seats and make money.