(Originally published in 2013)
Over the past four seasons, Carlos Boozer has arguably been the most criticized Chicago Bulls player. And why not? He’s an easy target: He’s lazy on defense, he “disappears in big games,” and most of all, he makes like $15 million per year. He’s usually the subject of random and ridiculous fan trades or rumored to be amnestied every summer. However, I believe fans will gain an appreciation for Carlos Boozer and his contributions to the Bulls this season.
It’s amazing Bulls fans don’t already realize it. They act like he’s some overpaid bum. Carlos Boozer is a former Olympian, winning Bronze in 2004 and Gold in 2008 with the Redeem Team. That’s right, when Team USA went all out and tried to get the best players in the NBA to join Team USA, Carlos Boozer was lumped in there with Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. He won the NCAA Championship in 2001 and was the MVP of the 2002 ACC Tournament. He’s a Two-Time NBA All-Star. He’s usually tenth or better in rebounds per game (he was sixteenth last year) and was one of the top players in the Eastern Conference in double-doubles. For his career with Chicago, he’s averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds. This season, he’s averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds on 60% shooting from the field and an unreal 90% from the free-throw line in 6 games (22 free-throw attempts!). In my opinion, Carlos Boozer is one of the top 10 power forwards in the NBA.
Why does Bulls nation give him such a hard time? Oh, right, he’s a sieve defensively. He’s been much more active defensively this year and has gone from below average to average. He’s been the most reliable scorer on this team this year and came into this season in phenomenal shape. He noticeably lost weight and became quicker, saying he was prepared to run more now that Rose had returned. He obviously put some work into his game and is focused on helping this team win a championship. Bulls fans are going to notice all the hard work he put in.
If you’re a Boozer hater, I challenge you to really study his game over the next few games. He has an arsenal of low post moves that no other player in the league has right now. He has a beautiful jumpshot, which is nearly automatic from the elbow or straight away at the free-throw line. He has a capable fadeaway on the low block as well. He’s remarkably quick in the post and has a devastating spin that can get him to the rim where he can finish with either hand at the basket. He’s also an underrated passer. Trust me, really study his game and watch him go to work on the block. You’re going to like what you see. Take this opportunity to enjoy Carlos Boozer’s game. If the rumors are true, he’ll be amnestied this offseason.
Then again, we’ve heard that before.