5 Ways Carlos Boozer Can Save His Tenure with Chicago Bulls in 2012-13 Season
For Chicago Bulls fans, Carlos Boozer has no doubt been a disappointment over the last couple seasons. The 10-year veteran once held a great reputation and has several strong seasons under his belt, but now there are several articles (like this one) arguing for Boozer to be amnestied from the Bulls following the 2012-2013 season.
The upcoming season is certainly a huge one for Boozer, and there are a few things he must do if he hopes to save his tenure in Chicago.
Increase His PPG Average
During the 2012-2013 season, Boozer kept up a solid shooting percentage at 53.7 percent. It's not necessarily the percentage that's the problem, but the forward needs to shoot more and put up more points per game.
Boozer averaged 21 PPG while at the peak of his career. Last season, he averaged 15 PPG during the regular season and only 13.5 during the playoffs.
Especially with the loss of All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, who averaged 21.8 PPG prior to tearing his ACL, Boozer needs to step it up and get some points on the board.
Capitalize on Increased Minutes
Since Kirk Hinrich is filling in for Rose at starting point guard, Boozer can expect to get more shots each game. Even more importantly, however, is that the forward should inherit some extra minutes each night with backup center Omer Asik headed to Houston.
If Boozer indeed sees more playing time as a result of an altered roster, he can't afford to mess it up. This is his chance to prove himself as a role player to Chicago. Coaches will look for an up-tick in shooting, point totals and rebounds in every game. If Boozer can deliver these increases, his playing time will continue to be on the higher end.
Engage the Fans
This may not seem like a major factor, but engaging with the fans is a major advantage for players. If Boozer can be the guy that gets fans involved in the game and makes himself an icon of the team, his value to the franchise will increase.
The Bulls roster has changed significantly coming into this season. Not only are they without Rose, but the "Bench Mob" is no more, and several new faces will step in as replacements. In a time of transition such as this, Boozer has a chance to be a familiar force and energy for the city.
Run the Offense
Granted, Boozer is not a point guard. Hinrich will do a solid job of filling in for Rose and creating plays from the point, but Boozer is also capable of running a fluid offense.
There's no real volume scorer in the starting lineup, and Chicago would bode well to run the offense through Boozer like the Utah Jazz did during his prime. For a big man, he's a quality passer. Getting the ball into him could help the offense flow more effectively. He has the experience, and it couldn't hurt to attempt drawing on those skills used with his previous squad.
Improve Play in Clutch Time
Anyone's biggest complaint against Boozer is his sketchy play in clutch time. His shooting struggles when playing top teams and when playing in fast-moving, close games. In his two seasons with the Bulls, Boozer's shooting percentage has dropped dramatically in the postseason.
When a team is paying a player $15 million for one season, it expects said player to perform even better in those clutch situations than in everyday game scenarios. Last year, Coach Thibodeau gradually decreased the forward's minutes as he proved increasingly unreliable. Boozer is a 10-year veteran, and his inconsistency on the floor when it matters is simply not acceptable.
If he hopes to save his career with Chicago, Boozer needs to exhibit some stability in his game. If the Bulls can't count on him in the playoffs, he's not worth keeping around.