Chicago Bulls: Where It All Went Wrong for Carlos Boozer

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIMarch 8, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 22: Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls dunks the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on February 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Trying to pinpoint where things went wrong for Carlos Boozer is a hard thing to do, not because there are so few points but because there are so many.

Let's be honest, things were bad from the beginning.

Firstly, because of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade teaming up in Miami, it appeared that the Bulls got Boozer as the consolation prize. On most people's ranking, he was the third best power forward available behind Bosh and Amar'e Stoudemire.

The second thing was him tripping over a bag in his house and hurting his wrist. The injury cost him the first 15 games of the season last year.

Then, when finally healthy he didn't produce and what he did produce isn't what people expected.

Boozer went from averaging 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds a game during his final season in Utah to averaging 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds. He lost two points and nearly two rebounds off his average, and this year, the drop is nearly as bad.

Also let's not forget his awful showing in the playoffs last season. Traditionally for his career, he has always produced better in the postseason, but last year it was much worse. Boozer averaged 12.6 points and his rebounds stayed the same at 9.6.

This season for the Bulls, Boozer is averaging 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds a game. Where is the 20-10 guy that we were promised?

When you picture a power forward scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds a game, you might picture someone like Elton Brand working in the post. Well, at one time, Boozer might have been like that, but he isn't anymore.

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 26:  Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls attempts a shot against Chris Bosh #1 and Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2011 at the United Center in Ch
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Boozer is now much more comfortable settling for that 15-foot jump shot rather then posting someone up. If you don't believe he was ever that sort of player, read David Thorpe's, of ESPN, article in 2007 about the best post player.

With all that I have already said, I haven't even mentioned the biggest problem.

Boozer seems incapable of playing defense.

In Chicago, we love our defensive guys. Whether it be the '85 Bears or Scottie Pippen shutting down Magic Johnson, we love and respect defensive players.

Hell, it's why Taj Gibson gets such loud cheers when he enters the game for Boozer.

That actually brings me to my final point. Gibson makes all this harder on Boozer. The biggest reason to see why Boozer's production is down is because of his playing time. He has gone from playing nearly 35 minutes a night to just under 30 minutes this season.

In Utah, they never had someone like Gibson to come in off the bench, so they had to live and die by Boozer.

When you take all of this into account, it is easy to see why Bulls fans are so against him, but I will warn everyone this, sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don't.

What that means is that a few years ago, everyone desperately wanted Boozer, but now seeing him up close and personal, you hate him. Who is to say that Pau Gasol or any other power forward you want to bring in will do any better?

My personal advice is to accept Boozer for what he is, which is a decent scorer and, at times, a very good rebounder and just be glad that we are lucky to have someone like Gibson coming off the bench.


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