Jimmy Butler selected as a starter for the East

The NBA announced earlier tonight that for the first time in his career, Jimmy Butler has been selected as a starter for the Eastern Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. For Butler, it marks the third consecutive season that he has been named an All Star. His selection was determined by a collection of fan, media and player votes.   In 41 games this season, the 27-year-old Butler is averaging a career-high 24.8 points (fourth in the East; T-10th in the NBA), career-high 6.8 rebounds, a career-high-tying 4.8 assists and 1.76 steals (T-fourth; T-11th) in 36.8 minutes (third; fifth). He joins Russell Westbrook as the only players in the NBA who are presently averaging at least 24.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.50 steals.   On Jan. 2 vs. Charlotte, Butler became the second Bull ever to post multiple 50-point games in the regular season (Michael Jordan, 30) when he scored 52, one point shy of his career high. He’s third in the NBA in free throws made per game with 8.4, and is fourth in free-throw attempts per game with 9.7. Butler is one of three NBA players – along with Russell Westbrook and James Harden – with at least 50 3-pointers and 340 free throws made this year. Butler has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week twice this season – something no Bull has accomplished since 2011-12 when Derrick Rose also earned two such honors.   Now in his sixth season, Butler was originally selected by Chicago with the last pick (30th overall) of the first round in the 2011 NBA Draft. He tops the Bulls stats sheet in scoring, steals, field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws made, free throws attempted and minutes played. He has led the Bulls in scoring a team-high 31 times in 2016-17, in rebounds 10 times and in assists 16 times. He has also posted 32 games with 20 or more points, including nine games with 30 or more points, four games with 40-plus points (first in the East; fourth-most in the NBA) and one game with 52 points.   Butler’s selection marks the eighth straight season that the Bulls have had a player named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. NBA All Star 2017, the 66th NBA All-Star Game, will be played in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center on Sunday, Feb. 19 (7 p.m. CT), and will be televised on TNT.