If the Chicago Bulls want to have a realistic chance of contending for the NBA Championship this season they must be clicking on all cylinders. In order to do so, they need Carlos Boozer to play consistently well from the first game of the season all the way through the playoffs. Consistency is one of the areas where Boozer has struggled the most since signing with Chicago in 2010.
When the Bulls signed Boozer three summers ago, they were expecting him to be a dominant scorer like he was for the Utah Jazz. However, since coming to Chicago, Boozer has struggled to consistently help Chicago on offense. While playing in Utah, Boozer averaged 19.5 points per game or more in three seasons yet has never averaged more than 17.5 in Chicago. Although he has shown signs of offensive dominance while on the Bulls, Boozer has struggled greatly with consistency.
It has been a story of ups and downs for Boozer since joining Chicago, and this can be demonstrated by looking at some of his nightly performances from last year. Let’s first start on the positive side by looking at a five game stretch in January where Boozer averaged 24.2 points and recorded double digit rebounds in every game but one. The Bulls won four of their five games in that stretch including victories of the Miami Heat and New York Knicks.
Now let’s look at some of Boozer’s struggles from last season. In a five game stretch during the beginning of the season in November, Boozer managed to average only 8.4 points and recorded double digit rebounds only once. The Bulls went 2-3 in this stretch including a loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Needless to say, how well Boozer performs in very crucial to Chicago’s success. If they get the Boozer that averages single digit points and rebounds, Chicago is going to have a very difficult time competing in the playoffs. However, if they get the 20 and 10 Boozer that they were expecting, Chicago has as good a chance as anyone to win the title next season.
Chicago also has the option to amnesty Boozer after this season if they feel it is the best move for the team. Therefore, Boozer is facing a make or break season this year. With the return of Derrick Rose this season there will be less pressure on Boozer to score each night which will hopefully help his productivity and consistency. However, if Boozer continues to struggle and cannot find a way to help Chicago win, the Bulls may decide to move on without him after this season.
Jon Keller is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @jkell2005.