Why Signing Carlos Boozer Was the Wrong Move for the Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls paid Carlos Boozer $14,400,000 this year.
Although it's extremely difficult to put a financial value on a player’s contribution to a team, it's not difficult to review a player’s productivity in relation to their pay scale.
Carlos Boozer is the tenth highest paid power forward in the NBA and is not one of the top 10 power forwards in the game.
Boozer earns more money than 11 of 2010's All-Star participants, despite not having made an All-Star appearance himself since 2008.
This, however, does not tell the complete story.
His impact on the Bulls can be measured by wins and losses. The Bulls went from 41 wins in 2009 to 62 in 2010. While a 21 game improvement is outstanding and requires a standing ovation, how much of that 21 game improvement did Boozer really play a role in?
Points in the paint are another way Boozer’s effectiveness can be measured.
In 2009 the Bulls ranked 27th in the league in points in the paint with 33.8 per game.
In 2010 that number dropped slightly to 33.5, however, they did rise from 27th to 24th.
As a team, their frontcourt rebounds went from 25.8 a game to 26.8 a game (no significant jump in production from a team standpoint).
Boozer ranked eleventh in points per game amongst power forwards during the regular season, dropping 17.5 points per night.
During the regular season Boozer averaged 9.6 rebounds per night, placing him eighth among power forwards, which is decent.
His 2.2 offensive rebounds a night ranked him 14th among power forwards, which is suspect at best.
The Bulls hoped to get more from the forward during the regular season, but EXPECTED more during the playoffs.
Management felt the addition of Boozer, to an established front line of Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, would make the Bulls challenge for Eastern Conference supremacy.
Boozer has delivered with his defensive rebounding, averaging 9.9 in 14 games. Yet, he has played sporadic in all other facets of the game, with his defense being a major issue against Miami.
In the first round against the Pacers, Boozer had moments where he was completely dominated by Tyler Hansbrough. Although the Bulls did win the series in five, few would say it was because of Boozer.
In fact, most would say it was despite him.
The second round didn't fare well for the forward, who struggled mightily with Josh Smith.
Smith’s versatility exposed Boozer’s lead feet syndrome and allowed the forward to create for other people. Smith averaged 3.5 assists per game which was a playoff career high for the Atlanta Hawk.
Boozer is now getting burned by MIA forward Chris Bosh who is shooting an astounding 62.9 percent from the field.
The Bulls have benched their prized free-agent acquisition several times in key fourth quarter stretches because of his defensive liabilities.
During Game 3 his defensive shortcomings were on full display. With Noah in foul trouble, Boozer was left to fend for his own and Bosh roasted him, scoring 34 points on 13-for-18 shooting.
When a team adds a player in the offseason, regardless of the price tag, they expect that player to contribute in some kind of way. Based on how much that team pays a player, there's always a certain amount of expectation that comes with a payout this large.
A slight increase in some areas and a lack of dominance in any area does not qualify as meeting that expectation.
Boozer has managed to make the Chicago Bulls believe that he's a game changing player the same way he managed to convince the Cleveland Cavaliers into letting him out of his contract so he could skate out to Utah.
In each of those instances, Boozer's undeniable talent for falling short went unnoticed.
This time, with the world watching and expectations upon him, Boozer has yet again managed to escape culpability. The blame game has again missed him and has landed at everyone else’s feet.
With the Bulls facing elimination and in desperate need of someone to step up, they need him now more than ever to earn his keep. They need game changing points. They need a fourth quarter filled with maximum effort on both sides of the court. They need him to show up and act as if he had $14,400,000 on the line.
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