Like it or not, the Bulls need their much-maligned power forward.
At this juncture, the Bulls will need scoring—a whole lot of it—and no one healthy player can put up points the way that Boozer can.
He is still one of the better low-post scoring players in the NBA and his left-handed layup is still one of the few post moves that cannot be guarded. Boozer’s lack of a lift on the shot only enhances the effectiveness of it. There is a beauty to this particular shot of his and I wonder why we did not get to see it more often.
In Utah, Boozer was a pick-and-roll post player who rolled to the weak side of the opposing team’s defense to snag passes for easy post opportunities. The Bulls, coached by Tom Thibodeau, seldom committed to a full pick-and-roll in their offensive attack. Instead, they chose to run a pick-and-pop attack on the perimeter.
It has proved to be reliable in the past, but it took away from what Boozer does best. Fully committing to the pick-and-roll would revitalize Boozer’s career and give the Bulls their best chance at winning.
Everyone knows there will be some struggles on offense with Derrick Rose out for a long stretch. That just means that the ball must be in Boozer’s hands more.
Boozer, without Rose on the floor, had fairly decent scoring numbers (15.7 ppg) and was the second scoring option behind Luol Deng. Boozer should be the primary option while Rose is on the mend. The Bulls must begin to cater to Boozer’s strengths. If they indeed do so, it can provide several benefits.
The first benefit would come at the free-throw line.
Boozer shot less than 70 percent from the charity stripe but averaged a career-low 2.1 free-throws a game. Boozer catching passes in the low post would give the Bulls more opportunities for easy scoring.
Boozer can draw the defense in the paint and free up space for open jump shots.
With the signings of Kirk Hinrich, Vladimir Radmanvic and Marco Belinelli, the Bulls have three additional jump shooters to go with Deng and Richard Hamilton.
This would force the defenses to make a decision on whether they should double-team Boozer or guard the perimeter. Either choice would be a dangerous proposition.
A good season from Boozer may give him some trade value.
Everyone knows that Boozer is not fleet of foot or the best defender. Nevertheless, Boozer has some lateral quickness in the post, and his defense, which still needs a little more work, has improved.
More improvement from him might catch the attention of a team that needs low-post scoring.
Here are a few teams that come to mind: Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks. Each team will need some semblance of a post-game at some point, and although he is still owed a ton of money ($47 million over three years) he may become a viable trade option.
That being said, I am not completely sold on using the amnesty provision on Boozer just yet—not without giving him every chance to succeed in the upcoming season.
We all agree that Boozer may not fit in the Bulls future plans, but that does not mean they should abandon all efforts to make him a better player. The Bulls must explore all of their options, and the first must be to play him and showcase him to the rest of the NBA.