Dec 5, 2011, 11:39 AM EDT
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.
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