Thanks to a combination of votes from fans, players, and media, former Marquette Golden Eagles star and current Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler will be one of the five starters for the Eastern Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
Butler will be joined in the starting lineup by Kyrie Irving and LeBron James from the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
It’s the third straight All-Star Game nod for Butler, but his first in the starting lineup. He’s averaging career bests in points (24.8), rebounds (6.8) , and assists (4.8), not to mention his 1.8 steals per game. Only Russell Westbrook can also say he’s averaging at least 24/6/4/1.5.
Butler is in his sixth season with the Bulls after being drafted #30 overall following three seasons wearing blue and gold in Milwaukee. Butler showed dynamic improvement in his game each year with Marquette, helping the team to the NCAA tournament in each season and capping off his collegiate career in 2011 by guiding MU to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2003.
It’s no surprise to any Marquette fan that Butler’s having a successful NBA career, but I think it’s safe to say that he surpassed anyone’s reasonable expectations for his ceiling a long, long, long time ago.
The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, February 19th, 2017, at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. TNT’s broadcast of the game is set to start at 7pm Central.