May 9, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT
Carlos Boozer has been a staple in Utah. The main frontcourt player. The big free agent brought in to lead them to prominence. Boozer regressed considerably last year, and looked very much expendable, prompting the Jazz to sign Paul Millsap to a longterm extension. Then, Boozer miraculously responded! Posted near career numbers!
In no way, shape, or form should this be considered related to the fact that it was a contract year. Com-plete coincidence.
And then the playoffs came. In this series with the Lakers, the numbers aren’t terrible. He’s averaging a double double, and shooting 46% from the field. But his impact seems like an afterthought. Against the legit big men of the Lakers, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and even Lamar Odom, Boozer has been overrun at both ends of the floor, hitting fadeaway tough shots which should be reserved for guards instead of powering inside (he’s been blocked 8 times in this game, though in Utah he managed to avoid it).
Boozer’s going to be a free agent this summer, likely the third best on the market, if you believe that Amar’e Stoudemire will opt-out, even if to re-sign with Phoenix. But is he a player that can really get you to a championship level? It’s possible he could. For instance, put him next to Andrew Bynum with LA’s talent, and he could get the job done with probably 75% the efficiency of Pau Gasol.
And that’s really what the LA-Utah series comes down to. The Jazz are 75% of the Lakers. And Deron Williams makes up about 60% of that.
Maybe this series will bring significant changes to the Jazz and a restructuring. They have Deron Williams. They have AK who can still be a difference maker. They have Paul Millsap who is still improving. But Carlos Boozer for Carlos Boozer’s paycheck?
That’s being proven a high quality chandelier on the Titanic. It looks nice, but it’s not helping you from sinking.
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