Dec 5, 2011, 11:39 AM EST
Chicago Bulls fans were frustrated with Carlos Boozers’ performance last season and let him know about it. Utah Jazz fans stood off in the corner nodding with a “we warned you” look on their face.
But Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wants you to back off.
Thibodeau did what any good coach would do and defended his star in speaking with Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com.
“I felt a big part of that criticism was unjust. He didn’t have a great year, but when you look at what he did, he had a very good year and I expect him to be better this year because hopefully, he’ll be healthy,” he said. “But if you look at Carlos’ career, you’re looking at a guy who has performed at a high level and his team has won at a high level, so I’m expecting great things from him this year.”
Boozer was not bad last season, but his game did take a step back from previous years. His shooting percentage fell (from 56 percent to 51 percent) and he grabbed fewer rebounds, basically he was just off. The injuries had something to do with it, but Thibodeau defended his defense.
“I’ve said this all along about Carlos: Carlos has been one of the best defensive rebounders in this league for a long time,” Thibodeau said Thursday. “So when you evaluate our starters, defensively I thought overall, it was good. It can be better. We play a collective defense; he’s part of it.
“I think the thing that set him back last year was the injury in training camp and then missing the two months, but I also think he had stretches where he played great for us and after reviewing the film, I’ll say this,” he continued. “That he was much better defensively than he was given credit for.”
If the Bulls are going to take a step forward this year they are going to have to get more out of Boozer. They need a wing who can create shots and some depth, too, but Boozer has to be better. We’ll see how he performs when healthy.
- Wesley Matthews’ injury will test Trail Blazers’ spacing 3
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: Nobody can stop E’Twaun Moore; Westbrook’s pretty good, too 11
- Training like the Pros: Recapping a month-long Nike Basketball workout experience 4
- Report: JaVale McGee can’t reach deal with Celtics 11
- Craig Sager makes long-awaited return to TNT after 11-month battle with leukemia 7
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: Masked Russell Westbrook just needs a cape 20
- George Karl: Knicks could use a strong point guard next to Carmelo Anthony 14
- Ray Allen announces he will not play this season 14