Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer was supposed to be the piece that completed the championship puzzle in 2010, despite the team missing out on the superstar trio that would eventually become NBA champions in 2012. However, expectations were too high for the aging forward, who wasn’t the savior that fans expected, especially at such a hefty price tag.
Boozer had a down year scoring wise in 2011, averaging 15 points per game. His playoff averages were even worse, which led the forward to lose the support of the majority of the fan base. While the veteran could potentially be in his last season as a Bull, I believe Boozer is due for a big season with the absence of former MVP Derrick Rose.
With Rose out for the majority of the season, the Bulls will be losing 20+ points on offense. I expect Chicago to still contend for a mid-tier playoff spot in a weak Eastern Conference, and Boozer’s offensive skills should help pave the way.
With more of the offense likely coming from the post without a penetrating point guard, Boozer’s offensive numbers should spike up with the new scheme and more touches. Boozer’s defense has also improved each year under head coach Tom Thibodeau, though I expect his numbers to stay roughly the same due to his age.
One factor weighing on Boozer’s season will be the continued development of Taj Gibson, who will compete for minutes at the power forward spot and also at center, replacing Omer Asik, who signed with Houston over the summer. The backup forward has shown that he’s ready for starter’s minutes, and it will interesting to see how Thibodeau rotates Gibson, Joakim Noah and Boozer throughout the season. The Bulls also added sharpshooter Vladmir Radmanovic and veteran Nazr Mohammed, who will vie for minutes in the Chicago frontcourt.
Health will also be a huge factor in the success of both Boozer and the team as a whole. Boozer has a history of injuries, but is coming off arguably the healthiest year of his career, as he appeared in all 66 games. If Boozer can stay healthy and shoulder the offensive load, a strong season should be in store for the two-time NBA all-star.
2012-13 projections: 70 games, 17.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, .550 FG%
Zach Mink covers the Chicago Bulls for Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter @zachmink12 for more news and analysis.