When Carlos Boozer was signed in the summer of 2010, he was thought to be the difference maker in getting the Chicago Bulls to the finals. After all, Boozer was coming off of a spectacular season with the Utah Jazz in which he averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.
Boozer’s numbers have seen a steady decline every season since becoming a member of the Bulls. Now, Boozer isn’t even counted on during the fourth quarter in head coach Tom Thibideau‘s rotation. Taj Gibson, a leading contender for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, often times plays the last 12 minutes of every game due to his reliable defense and offensive production.
As a result, Boozer is averaging a mere 29 minutes per game. His minutes-per-game average is the second lowest of his career since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. All of these factors only indicate that Thibideau no longer trusts Boozer to closeout games for the Bulls, and wants his best defensive-minded players on the court led by Gibson and Joakim Noah.
Chicago currently ranks last in points per game in the fourth quarter at 22.9, and Boozer has indicated that he could help the Bulls win down the stretch of close games. However, Gibson has increased his scoring average from eight points last season to 13 points per game. He also has a better field goal percentage at 48 percent vs. Boozer’s 44 percent average.
As the playoffs approach, look for Gibson’s playing time to continue to increase while Boozer slowly becomes the odd man out. No, he will not be benched completely, but he might as well be with Gibson stealing his spotlight. And the more that Boozer sits on the bench late in games, the more likely the chance the Bulls amnesty his contract in the summer. At this point, both the Bulls organization and Boozer must be looking forward to the day that they part ways.
Wally Jacobs is a Chicago Bulls writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @WJac1