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How to Fix Carlos Boozer's Inconsistent Offensive Game

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How to Fix Carlos Boozer's Inconsistent Offensive Game
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Carlos Boozer has been inconsistent since coming to the Chicago Bulls. While this is apparent to anyone who has been paying attention, just how inconsistent is worth taking some time to point out. 

During his tenure, he has had only seven "streaks" of 20-point games. The longest of those is six games, which occurred during his first season. In fact, four of the streaks occurred within his first 26 games with the Bulls. 

Since then, he has had three two-game "streaks" of 20-point games. He has the same number of "streaks" with fewer than 10 points. During his tenure with Chicago he has 40 games with 20 points, and 46 with 12 or fewer. 

Boozer can give you a fantastic game sometimes, but he's just as likely to play a stinker of a game. The inconsistency doesn't end there though. It's also a problem from quarter to quarter. 

In particular, this year the Bulls have tried to start off several games by going to him early. As a result Boozer has scored a quarter of his field goals this season in in the first six minutes of the game. His offense disappears in the fourth quarter, though, as he's made only 10 shots all year in the fourth quarter. 

Here is Boozer when he's effective. These aren't highlight reels, instead they're the basic plays that make Boozer a threat. He's an excellent jump shooter with a jump shot that is fairly hard to block because it has a such a high arc to it. He seems to have more trouble getting his shot blocked when he's trying to go to the rim. 

When Boozer is catching and shooting like this, he's extremely effective. So this begs the question, "Why?"

Why does Boozer, who can dominate for the first half of the first quarter, virtually disappear for the rest of the game? Is it that he's not shooting as often? Is he not shooting as well? If he's not shooting as often, is he not taking open shots, or not getting the ball? To a degree, all of these things are true. 

Looking at his split stats, we can see a few things by comparing his first quarters to his fourth quarters. One thing that pops out is that he attempts fewer shots, even adjusted according to minutes. In the first quarter he averages 16.4 shots per 36 minutes. In the fourth quarter that numbers falls off to 14.2, which is compounded by the fact that he plays almost half as many minutes in the fourth. 

Also interesting, is that  his shooting percentage, while down slightly from 50 percent to 48 percent, is not that egregiously different. It's the attempts that are way down. 

The inconsistency is touches. That's partly on Boozer and partly on the fact that he's spending a lot of his fourth quarter minutes playing with Nate Robinson. The Phoenix game provides a great example. Boozer scored 26 points through the first three quarters and only touched the ball in the set offense one time in the fourth quarter. 

It's not so much that Robinson doesn't pass the ball, as he does have 58 assists on the season. It's that, for whatever reason, he's not finding Boozer. In fact, he's only assisted Boozer on five field goals this season, and none of those have been in the fourth quarter.

By contrast, he has been assisted on 18 field goals by Kirk Hinrich, with 10 of those coming in the first quarter. Part of the reason Boozer is getting more points in the first quarter is that he's spending more of his time with Hinrich.

It's partly Robinson, but the rest of the team is pretty brutal as well when it comes to getting Boozer the ball. Only four of his 10 fourth quarter field goals have been assisted. By comparison, 48 of his 78 other field goals have been assisted. That's an assist percentage of 40 compared to 62 percent. 

In the clips above you saw him open and getting off the quick shot as soon as Robinson found him with the pass (just to show it is possible). Look at the clips from the Phoenix game below though, and note that while he's open, no one is trying to get him the ball. 

He went 14 minutes hardly touching the ball, except on rebounds. He was fouled one time, early in the fourth. He finally got one shot attempt in the last minute, but after not attempting a shot for 14 minutes he was out of rhythm. 

It seems there is a mutual confidence issue between Boozer and his teammates at this point. In part, this is because of his fourth quarter disappearing act in past seasons, where he has routinely attempted about half as many shots as in any other quarter. As a result, his teammates have stopped looking for him. 

Boozer needs to believe in himself and his teammates need to believe in him too. If Chicago is playing four on five, with arguably its best scoring threat being left out of the offense, they are going to continue struggling in the fourth quarter, as they have. To be more consistent he needs to demand the ball and his teammates need to accommodate him. 

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