One of the biggest flaws that people focus on about Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (other than the fact that he’s grossly overpaid) is that his defense isn’t exactly up-to-par for Tom Thibodeau’s defensive-minded team. It’s been a glaring issue that Boozer isn’t always engaged on the defensive end of the floor.
Boozer has the worst defensive rating for Chicago at 101.1 points allowed per 100 possessions and has a net rating of -3.4 points per 100 possessions. He has the highest defensive rebounding percentage on the team at 25.9 percent and grabs 6.9 defensive boards per game, though, so the issue is obviously more with how he defends his matchup.
The important thing to note is that his defense is absolutely essential for the Bulls to get wins.
In Chicago’s 32 wins this season, Boozer’s defensive rating is actually a solid 96.9 points allowed per 100 possessions and his total rebound percentage in those games is 17.8 percent. In fact, he averages 9.8 rebounds and 7.4 defensive rebounds in Bulls’ victories this season.
On the contrary though, Boozer’s defense has been an atrocity in the 26 losses the Bulls have this year. In those games, his defensive rating is an awful 106 points allowed per 100 possessions. His total rebound percentage also shows his lack of effort, dropping to 15.8 percent in losses. He averages just 8.3 rebounds, and 6.3 defensive rebounds in losses on the year.
The thing about Boozer’s defense is it’s not entirely about ability. He’s obviously not the quickest or most athletic guy on the floor at any time, but he’s not sub-par in either of those areas.
It really boils down to the amount of effort that he exerts on the defensive end. When he’s engaged and exerts maximum effort defensively, he’s able to be at least a competent defender and the Bulls obviously benefit from that.
With Derrick Rose still out of the lineup, Boozer has to remain locked-in defensively for Chicago to maintain their level of success. He’s never going to be as talented in that area as even Joakim Noah, his frontcourt-mate, but he has the skills to not be awful. The Bulls and Thibodeau have to find a way to consistently make sure that Boozer his busting his tail on defense. If they can make that happen, they will be better for it.