In this series of articles, I will provide a review of each player on the Bulls for their past season and provide an insight or prediction for the following season. In this particular article, I will be discussing Bulls PF Carlos Boozer.
There were big expectations for perennial double-double machine Boozer this past season after the Bulls signed him to a five-year, $75 million contact. He had just come from the Utah Jazz after five great seasons with them. The expectations for Boozer were for him to be a 20-and-10 guy for the Bulls and to provide a star scorer for Derrick Rose to work with.
The Bulls' received bad news before the season began when Boozer broke his hand while tripping over a bag. The broken hand required surgery, and the injury caused Boozer to miss the first 15 regular season games of the year. Boozer made his Bulls debut on December 1st, after about two months of recovery.
After returning from the hand injury, Boozer had his best month with the Bulls in December, when he averaged 20.6 PPG and 9.7 RPG. He also fielded a great 55 percent FG% in that month. Also in December were three of Boozer's best games of the season. Within a two-week span, he obtained three separate 30-and-10 games against the Raptors, Wizards, and Pistons (TOR 34/12, WSH 30/10, DET 31/10).
One of his low points of the season came in the month of March when he sprained his left ankle. He missed five games during the span of the ankle sprain, and for a few games after he didn't fully seem like himself. In his worst statistical season in March, he averaged 13.7 PPG and 8.5 RPG while shooting about 46 percent from the floor. The regular season ended soon after, and Boozer helped lead the Bulls to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
In the playoffs, Boozer seemed to be struggling on offense and defense due to what seemed to be a combination of his aggravated sprained ankle and his recent turf toe injury. This might have triggered his poor performance in the playoffs, as he averaged 12.6 PPG and 9.7 RPG while his FG% was only 43.3 percent.
The Bulls were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, and it seemed like almost every Bulls fan turned on Boozer within seconds, demanding the Bulls get rid of him.
My grades for Boozer in his 2010-2011 campaign
Regular Season: B-. I would've given upwards of a B+ or A- here if he wasn't injured for 23 games this season. He actually had a pretty good regular season, considering the injuries. After a great first month, he cooled down a little bit, but he still managed to obtain a 17.5/9.6 season which is pretty much what the Bulls needed from him. I also can't give him a higher ranking because he's not the greatest defender for a power forward.
Playoffs: C-. Now I witnessed hundreds of Bulls fans calling for his death sentence on the ESPN chat room after the team lost to the Heat, but honestly, he wasn't that horrible. He had some really bad games in the playoffs, but he also had a few good ones. You may be saying this isn't expected from a guy who we just gave $14 million to this season. However, he was also battling two injuries, an aggravated ankle issue and turf toe, which are both really annoying injuries. In my opinion, they altered his play—especially on defense—this postseason.
My predictions for Boozer in the upcoming season
First, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Boozer will play over 60 games this season. My guess is that he will play somewhere in the range of 65-70 games. This is actually a more bold prediction that you might think at first, considering he's been injured for 169 games in his nine-year career. That means, on average, he plays about 63 games per year.
Second, I think Boozer will average around 17 points and nine rebounds per game, while shooting about 52 percent. I think he will have a productive year, but I don't expect him to go over the 20 point and 10 rebound per-game mark like I've seen other people predict.
I actually think this will be a good year for Boozer, but with the increased minutes that I see Gibson getting, I don't think there will be enough time for him to average 20/10.
My last prediction for Boozer this year is that in the playoffs he will average 18.5 points and 10 rebounds because I think Rose will be doubled even more than last year in the playoffs.
Also, I think that this offseason the combo of Rose and Boozer will work on the pick-and-roll a bit more. It will become a reliable play for the Bulls to run in the playoffs—just like it was for Deron Williams and Boozer in Utah.