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When’s the $75 Million Boozer going to show up?

May 21, 2011, 9:00 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer celebrates after a basket against the Atlanta Hawks during Game 5 of their NBA Eastern Conference second round playoff basketball game in Chicago Reuters

So the Bulls are a pretty good team, right? Best record in the league, MVP Derrick Rose, top seed in the East, Conference Finals team with homecourt advantage (until Wednesday, at least). That’s pretty good. Except there’s just one problem that if the Bulls can solve, will mean their road to a championship and a restart of the 90’s heydays will be much easier.

Boozer.

Carlos Boozer signed with the Bulls for $75 million dollars over five years. He was the big free agent acquisition by Chicago in the free agent summer of a lifetime. Yes, the Bulls bought into a team-wide approach, adding role players like Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Keith Bogans (Keith Bogans?!), but Boozer was the crown jewel. When the Bulls were getting railroaded out of the playoffs, everyone said they needed a No.2 option. Boozer was meant to be that option.

The result? Boozer had a rough start, tripping over a bag, yes, a bag, and injuring himself for the first few months of the season. When he returned, he put in his third lowest season PER of his career, and his lowest point total in five years, save for the injury-ridden 2009 season. Boozer wasn’t looked at as a liability, after all, the Bulls won all those games and averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds. But he’s simply not the force that the Bulls need, and if he’s ever going to show up, now would be a great time as the Eastern Conference Finals move to Miami.

The playoffs started off badly for Boozer as Tyler Hansbrough showed the world what Jazz fans have known a long time: Boozer’s a defensive liability. Hansbrough still had opportunities as the Pacers series continued, but couldn’t convert, mostly due to inexperience. Then against the Hawks, we saw the first signs that Tom Thibodeau may trust Taj Gibson more in key defensive situations than Boozer. The Conference Finals have expressed the same. In fact, Gibson accounted for the vast majority of the Bulls’ offense in their fourth quarter of Game 2. Granted, the Bulls only scored 10 points in that quarter, but the point stands.

The Bulls needed offense in Game 2 and Boozer scored seven points on 3-10 shooting. He secured eight rebounds, four offensive, but it makes the second game Chris Bosh has bested Boozer, and Bosh had a terrible Game 2. The Bulls need Boozer. With Rose struggling as the Heat’s defense keys more and more on him, the Bulls have to look elsewhere. Their offense is at best rudimentary and at worst most-often infantile. “Give the ball to Boozer in the post and let him do his thing” is one of the better options the Bulls have.

The interesting thing is Tom Thibodeau doesn’t see Boozer, who turns 30 later this year, as a “slow it and post it” option. Instead, Thibodeau thinks Boozer needs the ball more in transition.

“It’s the same thing, just like with Derrick [Rose],” Thibodeau said. “I think the more we can run the floor and get out into transition before their defense gets set, it makes our offense much more efficient. I think it also plays to what our strengths are … We gotta try to get easy baskets. If the defense is set, now you gotta move the defense. Now the clock starts working against you. If you’re settling for long jumpers at the end of the shot clock, you’re not going to be very successful against this team.”

Boozer echoed his coach’s preference to play up-tempo basketball.

“Well we gotta run,” Boozer said. “The thing about getting easy baskets is you gotta make the other team miss, so you can get out in transition. We got one of the fastest guys in the world on our team (Rose). But to get the ball to him in transition where we can follow him and chase him, we gotta get stops. Once we get stops we’ll get the ball in his hands so we can run.”

via Boozer, pace keys for Bulls’ offense – Chicago Bulls Blog – ESPN Chicago.

Boozer has the opportunity to be the difference in a title or exit for the Bulls. But he has to somehow do the things he was paid to do. Whether he actually has that ability or not remains to be seen. The Bulls’ future lies with Boozer. If the Bulls want to reclaim homecourt advantage, they’ve got to get Boozer going.

And he’s got to do more than just yell.

  1. thetooloftools - May 21, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    Hey, LeBron James here… Why no mention of me because he and I were almost buddies in Cleveland ?

    • dirtyassfish - May 22, 2011 at 9:32 AM

      Hey FoolofTools why dont you hate on something else????? Instead of sweatin Lebrons hangdown daily.

  2. jstrizzle - May 21, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Am I the only one that sees more enthusiasm and passion when Taj Gibson is out there? Maybe they should start Gibson to wake up Boozer a little bit or something. Although is boozer injured or something? Didn’t he hurt himself last series or something? I might be confusing this with someone else.

    (Check out my sports blog http://minnesporta.wordpress.com/ )

  3. rajbais - May 21, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    When’s the $75 Million Boozer going to show up?

    NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • mytthor - May 21, 2011 at 9:48 PM

      Never EVER!

      • jstrizzle - May 21, 2011 at 9:54 PM

        Never ever EVER! Too far?

        http://minnesporta.wordpress.com/

  4. zrbk - May 21, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    When? When $1 inflates to a much lower value …

    • jstrizzle - May 22, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      Shouldn’t that be deflates?

  5. randommofo - May 22, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    Why are people surprised Boozer is sucking the playoffs? This has been his M.O. for years. This is who he is.

  6. dwighthowardisamazing - May 22, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    BOOOOzer

  7. philtration - May 22, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    And Chris Bosh signed for $110.1 million for 6 years and did not even put up the numbers that Boozer did this year.

    When is the $110.1 million Chris Bosh going to show up?
    Never because he is overpaid and the Heat could have signed two good players for the amount of money they threw at Bosh.

    • hnirobert3 - May 22, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      Really?

      Bosh
      Games played: 77
      Points: 18.7
      Rebounds: 8.3
      Blocks: 0.6
      FG %: .496
      PER: 19.44

      Boozer:
      Games played: 59
      Points: 17.5
      Rebounds: 9.6
      Blocks: 0.3
      FG %: .510
      PER: 18.90

      So, Bosh played in more games, has a higher PER, more points per game, 1 less rebound per game and slightly more blocks. And Boozer had a better season? Rose is the MVP because Boozer has been a disappointment.

      • hnirobert3 - May 22, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        Let’s not discount the fact that Bosh plays with arguably the two best perimeter players in the WORLD.

      • gmsingh - May 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM

        Excellent analysis–you just proved that Bosh is the worse value for the money.

  8. mannyfresh209 - May 22, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    bosh puts up the same numbers as boozer, being a 3rd option. get off his jock. boozer has been trash the whole postseason. bosh is instrumental and crucial for miami to win. obviously, boozer hasnt meant much to chicago since theyve won fine without him

    • tubal22 - May 22, 2011 at 1:23 PM

      Boozer is supposedly Chicago’s #2. And he’s putting up the same #’s as Miami’s 3rd option (and a VERY distant 3rd at that)/

      That’s why.

      But Chicago should have known this going in. Boozer has never stepped up in the playoffs, and most years, actually backs off.

      No surprises here.

  9. andrejohnsonforpresident - May 22, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    Yea… Its sad but I hope B-loser does not hinder Derrick roses great career.. Sadly if they do not some how attack his contract or get him out of there.. He will. Hopefully a new cba will make it easier to get him out of there next year.

  10. kyleortonsarm - May 22, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    That Boozer doesn’t exist. He never has. The Bulls were retarded enough to over pay for an old washed up has been.

  11. coltsfanindc - May 22, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    tooloftools,,

    the number is 1-800-273-TALK. its 24/7. Give them a call buddy. its never too late to try and get help.

  12. henryd3rd - May 22, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Boozer makes so much noise when he jams a simple dunk; but when the game is on the line he’s “The Invisible Man”. Is it me or has there ever been a former Duke player that really excelled in the NBA? Jack Marin was so so, Grant Hill got injured and never reached super stardom, Jay Williams had issues with a motorcycles, Luol Deng is still trying to make a name for himself and then there are other countless others who never really excelled at the NBA level.

    • chicago240 - May 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

      You’re clearly forgetting about Danny Ferry……

    • hnirobert3 - May 22, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      It is kinda sad that a non basketball school like the University of Miami produced a better NBA player than college basketball powerhouse like Duke. Of course, I’m talking about the biggest p***k of all time, Rick Barry.

      • purdueman - May 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        Duke, Duke, Duke until we all want to Puke!, Puke!, Puke!!!

        The very minute Coach K. cherry picks off another Mc Donald’s high school all American, he’s suddenly “hands down” a “sure fired” top of the NBA draft guy once he’s “one and done” with college.

        The Duke hype machine is enough to give anyone not from there an immediate migraine headache.

  13. purdueman - May 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    We ALL know when Boozer historically shows up… it’s in games against the worst teams in the league. The bigger the game, the less he shows up and the more likely that he’ll wind up sitting more than usual because of this, that or the other “owie”!

    It reminds me of baseball players who suddenly need a day off when they see Doc Holliday is scheduled to pitch!

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