Carlos Boozer scored 11 consecutive points in the fourth quarter, which helped the Chicago Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz 93-89 on Feb. 8. Despite the solid play of the Bulls' big man for most of the season, some columnists are viewing him as a liability rather than an asset.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article a few weeks ago stating Boozer’s play will diminish once Derrick Rose returns to the lineup. Rick Morrissey, also of the Sun-Times, recently expressed his thoughts on why he felt the team should consider trading Boozer because he does not play well with Derrick Rose.
While I respect the opinions of both experts, here is my take on why the Bulls should keep Boozer around.
During his first two seasons with the Bulls, Boozer had an annoying tendency of settling for the perimeter shots while lacking the defensive intensity that Tom Thibodeau preaches on a daily basis.
His disappointing postseason performances against the Miami Heat in the 2011 Conference Finals and the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2012 playoffs resulted in fans blaming him as the primary cause of the Bulls' early exit.
This season, Boozer has played with a different type of mindset. He is more aggressive down in the post and he takes the ball to the basket more frequently than he did in the past.
According to the ESPN, Boozer’s averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per contest in January and has recorded 24 double-doubles on the season—second on the team behind Joakim Noah‘s 25. In addition to that, Boozer has also shown the ability to find open teammates in various spots on the floor.
Therefore, for anyone who thinks his play has not contributed to the team’s success, I would advise you to reconsider.
For obvious reasons, the team will improve when Rose returns to the lineup. However, Rose will not be able to shoulder the burden alone.
Both Luol Deng and Noah have stepped up admirably as leaders of the team in Rose’s absence, but Boozer has been a factor as well. The team has done a good job of feeding him the ball and his game has blossomed as a result.
Being that Chicago does not have a lot of depth in the frontcourt, with Taj Gibson being the only other player who can effectively play the "4" and "5" spots, Boozer’s scoring and rebounding will be key as the team continues to make a push towards the postseason.