UPDATE: Bulls won their first exhibition game against the Pacers but Boozer didn’t impress. Says the Sun-Times: It wasn’t a great start for Boozer, who missed his first five shots, including a layup, and picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter. He had as many points as fouls (five) until he scored on a putback in the final two minutes. Meanwhile, his defensive assignment, Tyler Hansbrough, finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds — the kind of numbers the Bulls need Boozer to accumulate nightly.
Original Post here:
I have been a constant, consistent critic of Chicago Bulls Carlos Boozer after his signing last year. Or more correctly, his playing. I wasn’t always that way. I remember Boozer looking formidable against various playoff teams with Jazz and, having not really followed closely, envisioned a constant, consistent scorer/defender to make the Bulls look like, you know, a REAL championship basketball team.
I gave him a pass on tripping over a gym bag and missing the first part of the season because A) he seemed like a GOOD guy and B) those that live in glass houses like me should just shut up. When he came back he showed flashes of bumblery to brilliance – but never broke out. His stats SEEM to give hope though (quoting the Trib):
…he averaged 17.5 points on 51 percent shooting last season. That's more than his career 17.3 points per game average and just shy of his career 53.7 shooting mark.
And now, the great K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune is trying to book me on the Boozer bandwagon all over again. He quotes MVP Rose as saying that Boozer looks faster, and they want to get him the ball more because they have confidence in him. Then goes to daCoach:
"We want our offense to be versatile and attack in different ways," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "And not only in set offense, we want to do it in transition. The fact is he's in better shape, he can outrun people and beat them down the floor. Hopefully, we can run more off our defense and attack teams before they get set."
WHAT?? What are you doing to me KC?? Have you no compassion? Is this really fair to pull on a Cub fan? …where is the next meeting of Hopeless Chicago Sports Romantics Anonymous? Or better yet Chicago Romantics Anonymous for Sports Hopelessness.
In fact, Boozer seemed to be the anti-Tebow, actually performing WORSE in clutch situations last year. Even Thibs opted in favor of Kurt Thomas in post season as Boozer was still on the recovery bubble and most of us breathed a sigh of relief. (Don’t get me started on letting Thomas go and keeping the White Mamba). Boozer’s post-season average dropped to 12.6 albeit being injury impaired. He has two years of increasing production in post season, two years miserably falling and one year where he performed at the same level. Here is a comparison of his REGULAR and POST season averages:
|Year||Reg Season||Post Season|
Through a Tebow-performance-lens, Boozer has been inconsistent. The two years of where he IMPROVED in the post-season do give a glimmer of hope although, at 30 years of age, I would have expected him to have developed a winning clutch HABIT by now and no one can argue he showed that with the Bulls in the post-season.
The Bulls exhausted themselves playing with 110% effort for 100% of the games last year with a
slave master coach to rival Attila the Honey Badger. The stats tend to lend credence to the idea that the Bulls overachieved while other teams were conserving their mojo for the post-season. An improved Boozer in post season would certainly add that “next gear” many analysts thought had been fully exposed in regular season play and we just pray that Taj and Deng had Rose-like offseason dedication to improve too.
People say it’s all about beating the Heat. The signing of Rip Hamilton makes me fantasize about how different at least 3 of the close playoff losses would have turned out when Rose uncharacteristically wilted in the 4th quarter with no help from Boozer or Bogans. But…
I’ve already expanded a great deal of my foolish expectation quota with a Mr. Theo Epstein on the North Side. Is there any left for Mr. Thibodeau?
Possibly. My Jay Cutler Juggernaut option was never executed and Hanie has done nothing to make me believe (as I once did) that the Bears wouldn’t loose that much offense without Jay. I’m not too invested in the Bears meeting last years achievements much less exceeding them.
But I will say this for the “faster, stronger” practice extrapolation Team Bulls are selling. It worked for Forte. Training camp reports by David Haugh on Forte made me wonder if his wife was getting concerned. Forte WAS stronger and faster and it translated into REAL productivity. Although as strong, healthy and prepared as Matt was, it didn’t inoculate him from play-ending injury.
And the Boozer/Injury correlation is just strong enough lead us back to a natural thought progression to the Chicago Sports psychologists couch.
Thanks a lot KC. Let me observe this new Carlos against Los Angeles and I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, has he made any progress on stopping the incessant yapping on court?