Throughout the course of 2013-14 NBA regular season, nobody has been a bigger scapegoat for the Chicago Bulls than Carlos Boozer. After all, he is averaging a mere 13 PPG and eight RPG despite earning $15 million per year. Boozer has also seen his minutes severely reduced in order to get more playing time for Taj Gibson.
But if the Bulls want to have any success in the postseason, head coach Tom Thibodeau will have to play Boozer more to get the most out of his offense. In their Game 1 loss to the Washington Wizards on Sunday, the Bulls allowed Nene and Marcin Gortat to score a combined 39 points from the center and power forward position. If the Bulls want to have any chance of defeating the Wizards, they need to put pressure on Nene and Gortat to play defense.
Although he’s had a down year, Boozer finished off the regular season strong despite only playing around 24 minutes per game. He shot nearly 60 percent from the field during the final five regular season games, including 18 points and seven rebounds against Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and the rest of the Detroit Pistons on Apr. 11.
Boozer is also the Bulls’ only back-to-the-basket player. Joakim Noah and Gibson aren’t known for their post-up play, but Boozer is capable of using his body to back down defenders and create easier shots for himself in the paint. As a result, that type of play can only lead to open perimeter shooters or fouls by opposing defenders.
It’s unlikely that Thibodeau will give more time to Boozer as the playoffs continue. Gibson and Noah take up much of the time in the fourth quarter due to their defensive play, and that’s how Thibodeau likes his rotation at the moment. But if the Bulls continue to struggle against the Wizards offensively, don’t be surprised to see Boozer nab more minutes in the first round.