It looks like Boozer’s New Year’s resolution—to improve his play and be more efficient on offense—has come to fruition. Through 11 games in January, the Duke product has averaged 22 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, much better than his 13.9 points and 9.4 rebounds through the season’s first 29 games.
According to Boozer, there isn’t a specific reason for his improved stats in 2013 (via ESPN Chicago).
"It's just playing, man," Boozer said. "Playing off my teammates, hoopin', having fun, trying to win. It's that simple. There's no new recipe to it."
Boozer was phenomenal in the Bulls’ first game of 2013, producing 31 points and 11 rebounds in a win over the Orlando Magic. Whether it was sticking the mid-range jumper or dominating inside the paint, he was simply unstoppable in this contest.
Just in case you missed that performance, here are the highlights.
Two days later, Boozer was instrumental in Chicago’s huge road win over the Miami Heat, dropping 27 points and grabbing 12 boards down in South Beach.
Bulls center Joakim Noah talked a little trash following the game, as he hyped his teammate up (via CBS Sports).
"I don't know if that small ball is going to work against us," Noah said. "Not with guys like Carlos Boozer in the game."
Later on Jan. 16, Boozer enjoyed a sensational performance versus the Toronto Raptors, recording 36 points (his largest point total in a Bulls uniform) and 12 rebounds to lead Chicago to a two-point victory.
Other great January performances from Boozer include 24 points and 11 rebounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 22 points and 11 rebounds against the Milwaukee Bucks and 19 points and a season-high 20 rebounds against the Boston Celtics.
Several Bulls fans would like to see Boozer stay put in Chicago due to his recent production. However, about a month ago, you couldn’t find many fans who didn’t want him either traded or amnestied.
Boozer was extremely inconsistent earlier this season. He was known to score 22 points one night and then four the next. In fact, he has nine single-digit scoring games under his belt, including a two-point effort versus the Minnesota Timberwolves in November.
While Boozer hasn't been a fan favorite during his time with the Bulls, head coach Tom Thibodeau apparently supports him (via ESPN Chicago).
"It's interesting because he's sort of a lightning rod for our team. He really has played well since he's been here. He got hurt his first year which set him back a little bit, but at the end of every season where you look at where he ranks statistically he's always at the top at his position. More importantly, when you look at the wins the last two years and that's the most important thing. I think he and (Joakim) Noah have played extremely well together, and he plays to win and I think that's important."
Is Boozer’s resurgence here to stay or will he eventually return to his old ways? That’s the question everybody in Chicago wants to know the answer to.
Look for his All-Star-type numbers to continue for a while. He’s ridiculously motivated right now and probably sick and tired of all the “Get Rid of Boozer Now” talk. And more than likely, he wants to finally prove to Bulls management that acquiring him wasn’t a mistake.
Nobody believed Boozer could have a King James or D-Wade-type impact in Chicago, but he was expected to emerge as the perfect sidekick for Derrick Rose. And, of course, that hasn’t happened.
However, it can happen once Rose—who is yet to play this season due to a knee injury—returns to the court in the near future. If you think Boozer is motivated now, just wait until he’s playing alongside one of the top players in the league.
With a healthy Rose in the lineup as well as the likes of Boozer, Luol Deng and Noah, the Bulls have the talent to make a deep postseason run this year and attempt to win their seventh title in franchise history.
Whether you believe it or not, the words "Boozer" and "productive" will be used in the same sentence for a long time.
Stats used are accurate as of 1-23-13 before games were played.