One of the Chicago Bulls’ top priorities this summer was to re-sign veteran center Nazr Mohammed. The Bulls wasted no time getting down to business as they immediately re-signed Mohammed during the opening days of free agency in July.
Although Mohammed will likely not play a significant amount of minutes or be a stat sheet stuffer, he will still be an important member of the Bulls team in 2013-14.
The Bulls originally signed Mohamed last summer after Omer Asik left to play for the Houston Rockets. Although Mohammed does not have the ceiling and potential that Asik has shown, he is a smart veteran player who has served as a mentor for young front court players such as Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah.
Mohammed also proved to be a leader towards the end of last season when he saw an increase in playing time while Joakim Noah was hurt with plantar fasciitis.
When Noah went down and missed the end of March and most of April, the Bulls were able to call upon Mohammed to step up and play big minutes. Despite only playing a maximum of 13 minutes prior to the month of March, Mohammed was able to play big minutes when the Bulls needed him most.
Mohammed recorded five games in which he played 30 minutes or more, including a game against the Toronto Raptors where he played 43 minutes. This was Mohammed’s best game as he went off for 16 points and 13 rebounds. There are very few players in the league who have been around as long as Mohammed has (15 years) and can still play for 40-plus minutes during the final stretch of the regular season.
What Bulls fans will remember most about Mohammed’s season last year is the altercation that he got in with Miami Heat forward LeBron James in last year’s playoffs. James and Mohammed got into it during Game 3 when Mohammed wrapped up James while trying to commit an intentional foul.
It was a clean play by all means, and James responded by trying to take Mohammed to the ground. Mohammed did not like this action and he shoved him back, resulting in a vintage Lebron James flop and Mohammed getting ejected.
Although he lost his cool and hurt his team by getting ejected, the Bulls need someone like Mohammed who is not afraid to stand up to a LeBron James. Mohammed set the tone as well as sent a message to the Heat that Chicago is willing to play physical if need be.
Although it may not always show up in the box score, Mohammed is a valuable asset of the Bulls who steps up when the team needs him most.