Is Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer an Elite Power Forward Again?
Whatever your answer to that question, you can’t deny he was one of the league’s top power forwards as a member of the Utah Jazz.
During his six-year tenure in Utah (2004-10), the former Duke star was named an All-Star twice, earned a spot on the All-NBA Third Team once and won a gold medal with the “Redeem Team” in 2008. In addition, he averaged 19.3 points and 10.5 rebounds in his Jazz career.
Boozer put together a phenomenal 2006-07 campaign, producing 20.9 points and 11.7 rebounds a night. He scored a career-high 41 points twice that season, once in the regular season versus the Washington Wizards and the other against the Houston Rockets in the playoffs.
Boozer would sign with the Bulls in 2010, after the team failed to land fellow free agents LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Instead of emerging as the ideal sidekick for Derrick Rose, Boozer has often been criticized for his less-than-stellar play on the court. Many Bulls fans believe he isn’t worth his massive contract and should be either amnestied or traded as soon as possible.
Fortunately, after the calendar year changed to 2013, Boozer stepped his game up dramatically. He poured in 31 points versus the Orlando Magic in his first game of ’13.
Then a few days later, Boozer was instrumental in the Bulls’ win over the Miami Heat down in South Beach. He scored 27 points and grabbed 12 boards versus James and the defending champion Heat, showing flashes of the player he used to be in Utah.
And on Jan. 16 against the Toronto Raptors, Boozer would drop 36 points, his biggest point total since joining the Bulls.
Boozer is currently averaging 15.7 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. More importantly, he has teamed with Luol Deng and Joakim Noah to lead the Bulls to a respectable 30-22 record this season. That’s a pretty impressive record, seeing that superstar Derrick Rose hasn’t played a game since April (torn ACL).
While both Deng and Noah were named All-Stars this year, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau believes Boozer should’ve made the team as well (via the Chicago Tribune).
"These things are always tough because there is limited space and deserving players. But Carlos has been unbelievable, so I think he's deserving."
Noah also thinks Boozer should’ve been an All-Star.
"I wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for Carlos especially. He demands so much attention because of how good he is offensively. I'm able to get a lot of easy baskets because of Carlos' passing ability.”
So do you consider Boozer an elite power forward?
The Association’s best at the position include the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love (when healthy), the Portland Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The chart below compares a trio of power forwards’ stats to Boozer’s.
It’s unlikely Boozer will ever be the 20-10 guy that he once was, and he may never make another All-Star team. However, one thing is sure—he’s still a quality contributor.
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