NBA Analysis: Carlos Boozer's Future with Bulls

By Marco Radenkovich

Gar Forman was on ESPN 1000 today and had nice words for his starting power forward, Carlos Boozer. 

"I thought Carlos had a very good year for us," Forman said. "When you look at the numbers during the season, he was 18 points, 10 rebounds, shot over 50 percent from the field.

“I thought he was a big part of the success we had winning 62 games and finishing with the best record in the league.”

Was he?

If you want to look at record, the Bulls were 47-12 in the regular season with Boozer on the court, and 15-8 when he didn’t play.  So, Boozer was the X-Factor the Bulls were looking for, right?

There are other ways to look at Boozer’s performance, and I look at more than just points, rebounds and shooting percentage.  In terms of advanced stats, I like looking at WS/48.  WS/48 is an index to show how important a certain player was to his team’s success per 48 minutes.  Average is 0.100 and Boozer had a 0.149.  Nobody would argue that Boozer wasn’t above average during the regular season.  In fact, this stat shows that he’s in the top 50, and top 10 at his position. 

Most people look at Luol Deng as the Bulls unsung hero this year.  Maybe part of that was based on expectations, as people didn’t really know what to expect out of Deng this year.  Luol had a great year, and had a 0.149 WS/48.  Boozer matched that, but didn’t receive the same praise.

What was concerning was his play late in the year.  Boozer did not have a great playoffs, and it was magnified due to Taj Gibson’s coming out party in the playoffs.  Was Boozer injured?  Forman seems to think so.  But he’s always hurt.  He’s never going to play a full season.  Is that worth the contract the Bulls signed him to?

So as the Bulls look to beat the Heat, and eventually win a title, is Carlos Boozer a part of that group?  He wasn’t as good as last year, but probably wasn’t as healthy as last year.  Will that change?

Now, I obviously don’t take too much of this statement by Gar into consideration.  He’s not going to blast his player – rather, he’s taking strides to help his confidence and get him to the player he was signed to be.

Tom Haberstroh from ESPN Insider has a different take, and some telling statistics.  “The numbers are staggering. The Bulls were better off this season with Boozer on the bench, according to plus-minus data from basketballvalue.com (minus-1.8 net rating). The Utah Jazz were better off in 2009-10 with Boozer on the bench (minus-2.0 net rating). Same thing in 2008-09: The Jazz were better off with Boozer riding pine (minus-6.6 net rating). That's three years running in which Boozer's defensive liabilities outsized his offensive exploits.”

Haberstroh seems to think trading him is the best option, as he’s only getting older and more susceptible to injuries.  With the lack of post options available, there might be a market, but Boozer isn’t exactly a hot commodity with his recent play.

There’s no chance he goes to Orlando for Dwight Howard, so let’s not even bring that up.  He might have to be used to bring back a bad contract.

My opinion – Keep Carlos for this year.  I think Boozer is better than how he played in the playoffs.  I don’t think he’s the 26 and 11 from December, either.  Let him rest this off-season and hope he can give you 70 games plus a healthy playoffs for 2011-2012.  If you can “trick” someone into trading for him like Haberstroh suggests, do it.  But there’s no urgency here. 

Get more great Chicago Bulls news, recaps and analysis over at Horns to the Hardwood.


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