Per K.C. Johnson:
"Tell them to stay tuned," Boozer said. "Tell them to be patient.
We're doing fine. Hang in there with us. Tell them I said that."
Tom Thibodeau also discussed using Boozer better:
"We have got to run the
floor a little better," Thibodeau said when asked how to jump start
Boozer. "We have to find him deeper in the post. We have to search him
out better. In looking at the film, he made some really good plays in
the first quarter. We went to the re-post and missed a couple of shots.
But we have to give him that second look and he has to get some easier
scores. He'll be fine.
"He has faced (defensive length)
throughout his career. We looked at the previous game against
Philadelphia where he had 31 and he scored in a variety of ways. (Monday
night's 97-85 loss to the 76ers) was a different sort of game. When
he's at his best, he scores in pick-and-roll, post-up, catch-and-shoot,
running the floor. We have to get him back to doing that."
The problem with Boozer is that he's a bit of Korver except that you don't play him 20 minutes a game. When Boozer's offense isn't going for you, then he's really not helping you much, because he hurts you defensively. Of course, like Korver, the threat of him on offense still always provides some value and takes away some coverage from Rose.
Boozer's presently mired in a fairly big slump for him. Thibodeau is right in that part of the problem is the lack of quality opportunities and the offense not creating those for him. He's not finding any easy looks at the basket, and he's struggling with the more difficult looks.
While he's not providing offense, his lack of defense really comes to the forefront. I know many fans are already upset a bit with this guy and screaming for the Bulls to trade him, but before we go that far, I'll offer you these thoughts:
Who could you get to replace Boozer?
Seriously, who else are you going to get that can create their own shot in the post, roll to the basket off the pick and roll, or shoot the jumper off a pick and pop? Does that guy have better size than Boozer and play better defense too?
There's a pretty small list of guys that can do everything that Boozer can do, that list also coincides nicely with a list of guys who aren't obtainable, but hey if the Blazers call up and offer Aldridge for Boozer or if the Hawks say they want to send us Al Horford, I'm game. Neither of those things are happening.
Who could you trade Boozer to if you could find a replacement?
When you sign a guy to a monster free agent contract, but one that's less than the max, you are typically stuck with that guy. You were the high bidder when he was an FA or else he wouldn't be on your team. He's now underperforming your expectations. Who is going to bid more on him now that he looks worse and costs more than they wanted to spend the previous summer?
If you don't get more talent back for him, why would you ever trade him?
I know we've had this long term 'fit guys into the cap, avoid bad contracts' thing going as Bulls fans, but the Bulls are long past the point where free agency is an option for them. Derrick Rose will soon be on a monster extension, Luol Deng already is, Noah's kicks in next summer. There's no cap room coming people.
Bulls fans now have to hope that management will step up and spend the money to keep Gibson and Asik as well as improve this team going forward by spending over the cap. They'll have to hope that the new CBA allows them some continued leverage to do so at least in terms of resigning their own players even if the MLE is wiped out.
The point of it is with a hard cap unlikely to come (ignore the scorched Earth thoughts of the owners for a minute here), the best way to improve the team is not to shed talented but flawed players for cap room we won't be able to utilize. It saves the team money, but it doesn't improve them in the standings. It's championship time, not saving money time.
Jerry Reinsdorf has promised us for years that he'd spend the big bucks if this team were ready to win a title. He said this team was set up to be a dynasty. As many doubts as I have about his willingness to really put his money into pushing this Bulls team over the top, we have no choice but to take him at his word and a good part of that is adding talent, not removing it for cash.
Boozer's been solid in the playoffs
I know everyone remembers the playoff series where Gasol and Bynum owned him inside. Well he went to battle with Okur as the other big man next to him, and struggled with the Lakers length. However, he was really competing against two big men with massive size advantage down low.
Overall, Boozer's been to the post season four times, in two years he eclipsed his regular season numbers, and in two years he fell short of them. He's going to have problems with length in the playoffs at times just like in the regular season, but he's shown the ability to get around that at times too.
When you look at the guys he'll need to go through in the East, I'm confident in his ability to go up against the PFs that we'll have to go through. Against the Lakers, I think their length will be an issue, but at least he'll have Noah fighting with him on the inside instead of Okur hanging out on the perimeter.
I said long before we signed Boozer that he was a flawed player. Not someone I was overly interested in for a variety of reasons. Those reasons are at the forefront right now while he's slumping.
However, you couldn't get Bosh, you couldn't get Amare (and well, I don't think we wanted him given his injury/attitude/25+ million extra cost), and you still wanted to upgrade your PF position. It was Boozer or David Lee.
I like Boozer of the two. They're both similar in that they're no defense playing, rebounding guys with decent offense, but Lee is a system offense guy similar to Luol Deng while Boozer can create offense. The Bulls needed that second thing more, and they also benefit from his increased physicality.
Boozer's not the perfect player, but he's a good player. He's a player who's helped this team a ton this year, and he's a player who, for better or worse, will be here for a long time.