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Carlos Boozer Nice Suit
During last summer's "Lebron-A-Palooza," also known as the 2010 Free Agency, a few teams were uniquely positioned with talent and cap space to acquire the services of Lebron James and the Bulls were one of those teams. In order to keep pace with teams like the New York Knicks who signed Amare Stoudemire, the New Jersey Nets who had cap space, a Russian billionaire owner, and were pursuing big name free agents and the Miami Heat who had verbal commitments from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh the Bulls decided to add another peace.
The Bulls, who already has Luol Deng and Joakim Noah backing up one of the best players in the league in Derrick Rose, went out and acquired Carlos Boozer, James' former teammate, in order to entice James into picking Chicago. A summer later, James and his talents are in South Beach and Bulls fans are disappointed in Boozer's 2010-2011 performance.
A player who averages 17.5 PPG and 9.6 RPG on an average NBA team would be heralded as a great player. Those numbers are enough to win over most fans, but Bulls fans were having none of it. Regardless of his .510 FG percentage and his .701 FT percentage, Boozer heard fans changing their chants from "Booz!" to "Boo!" over the course of the season as fans increasingly called for more Gibson and less Boozer.
To their credit, Bulls management were fairly consistent in how the managed the PF playing time and had nothing but support for Boozer in press conferences. Nevertheless, as the highest paid Bull, there is a lot of pressure on Boozer to perform up to his paycheck and if he is unable to do so, the Bulls may look to unload his contract even if it means receiving less valuable players.
Over the course of the offseason, many have speculated what Boozer can do to better serve the Bulls. Some have called for him to drastically improve his defense which, at 29 years old, may be an impossible task. Others have called for him to rebound at a higher level, but only 13 players rebounded at a higher level than him last year. I propose that there are two simple things that Boozer can improve upon to be the player the Bulls need him to be.
First, he needs to be healthy. For the whole season. That means, no nagging foot injuries, no lack of conditioning coming into the season, no tripping over a bag in his house. It means Carlos Boozer arrives for training camp in great physical condition, ready to play 82 regular season games and 28 postseason games if necessary.
Second, Boozer needs to fly low and accept that fans are going to dish on him until he proves himself to them. Deng was "soft" for five years, Noah was "bad" for two years, and Boozer just needs to weather his storm and use the negative energy to fuel him to great performances. If Boozer continues to consistently produce and presents himself humbly before the media, focusing more on the team than on himself, it won't be long before he again feels the love from Bulls fans.