2010-11 Scouting Report: Carlos Boozer

boozer

Name: Carlos Boozer
Position: PF
Height: 6’9″
Weight: 266 pounds
Birth Date: November 20, 1981 (28 years old)
Birth Place: Aschaffenburg, West Germany
Number: 5
Nicknames: Carlos Bruiser
College: Duke
Drafted: 2002, second round, 34th overall by Cleveland
Experience: 8 seasons
Previous teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz
Expect: Rebounding, inside scoring, brutal screens
Don’t expect: Interior defense

2010-11 Overview:
Let’s get something straight: Carlos Boozer is an elite power forward. Easily among the very best…and a perfect fit for the Bulls. Just ask Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “[Boozer] sets screens, he gathers well and finishes expertly with either hand, and truly comes straight out of central casting for a team like Chicago.”

Here are Boozer’s significant NBA rankings from the 2009-10 season:

3rd in Double-Doubles (55 — trailing only Dwight Howard and Zach Randolph), 3rd in Defensive Rebounds (693), 3rd in Defensive Rebounds Per Game (8.9), 4th in Total Rebounds (874), 4th in Defensive Rebound Percentage (29.9), 4th in Total Rebound Percentage (19.4), 5th in Rebounds Per Game (11.2), 6th in Field Goal Percentage (a career-high .562), 9th in Effective Field Goal Percentage (.562), 9th in Defensive Win Shares (4.6), 14th in Total Win Shares (9.9), 15th in Player Efficiency Rating (21.3), 16th in True Shooting Percentage (.600), 16th in Defensive Rating (101.8 — tied with Pau Gasol and Anderson Varejao), 17th in Win Shares Per 48 Minutes, and 21st in Points Per Game (19.5).

Among the league’s power forwrds, his rankings are even more impressive:

1st in FGP, 1st in DRPG, 2nd in DRR, 3rd in RPG, 4th in REBR, 4th in Assists Per Game (3.2), 5th in PPG, 5th in PER, 6th in Steals Per Game (1.08), 6th in TS%, 7th in Usage Percentage, 7th in Value Added, 7th in Estimated Wins Added, 9th in Assist Ratio…

…I think you get the point. Boozer is pretty good.

It’s worth noting that the 2009-10 season was something of a comeback year for Boozer. Prior to that, he had suffered (literally) through two consecutive seaons of shrinking stats, due primarily to various injuries (ankle, calf, foot, hamstring, knee, quadriceps…). This — in addition to the ampe time he missed in 2004-05 (31 games) and 2005-06 (49 games) — earned Boozer a reputation as an injury-riddled player who had already peaked and was now in sharp decline.

Boozer then proved everybody wrong by appearing in 78 regular season games and an additional 10 playoff games, re-joining the select group of elite NBA power forwards. Bulls fans are hoping that wasn’t a case of Contract Year Phenomenon in action.

Offense:
ESPN’s David Thorpe includes Boozer in his short list of the game’s most accomplished post players and ranks among the best at scoring around the basket with either hand: “Boozer can beat you both with feel and mechanics. His massive body provides all the space he needs, and his ambidexterity keeps his defender guessing which way he’ll turn. … Boozer has incredible touch turning or finishing in either direction. You cannot force him anywhere but backwards if you hope to slow him down.”

Boozer’s strength and offensive versatility make him a very high percentage shooter. Last season, Boozer hit an astouding 67.9 percent of his shots around the basket. Among power forwards, Boozer ranked 2nd behind coulda-been-a-Bull LaMarcus Aldridge (70.7 percent). He also ranked 3rd inside 10 feet (49.2 percent — behind only Amar’e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh), 7th from 10-15 feet (43.6 percent) and 5th from 16-23 feet (44 percent).

But are those numbers — particularly the “around the basket” stats — deceiving? According to ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh added the following: “According to Synergy, more than one-third of his scoring plays this past season came from the pick-and-roll or through a cut rewarded with a feed from Deron Williams. As a barrel-chested tank, Boozer is one of the best finishers off the pick-and-roll — he converted 106 of his 168 attempts resulting from Jerry Sloan’s signature play.”

Hoopdata provides an even more stunning view of Boozer’s scoring plays: 72.8 percent of Boozer’s shots at the rim where assisted. Nearly 70 percent of his shots inside of 10 feet were assisted. Over 65 percent of his shots from 10-15 feet were assisted. And 86 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet were assisted.

In other words: This big dog needs to be fed. Fortunately, Boozer has an All-Star point guard in Derrick Rose to set the table. And although it’s true that Boozer isn’t a back-to-the-basket-on-every-possession kind of guy, the fact is he can play in the post. And that’s an option that’s going to greatly benefit the Bulls’ offense.

Defense:
According to ESPN’s John Hollinger: “Defensively, Boozer is average at best. Although his strength lets him push out opposing post players, he doesn’t have the length to challenge their shots, and his lateral movement is suspect. That hurts him in pick-and-roll defense and gives him trouble when he chases perimeter 4s around the 3-point line. He’s a good defensive rebounder, but he seldom blocks shots or takes charges, and his effort level has been questioned at times.”

So…Boozer kind of blows on defense?

According to Haberstroh…yes: “According to basketballvalue.com, the Jazz were nearly two points worse with Boozer on the court over the past two seasons, even after adjusting for the strength of his teammates and opponents. … It’s an irrefutable fact that the Jazz were better defensively without Boozer this past season. The Jazz allowed six more points every 100 possessions while Boozer was on the court relative to when he sat the bench. His offensive exploits failed to make up for his defensive deficiencies, as he improved the Jazz’s scoring by only four points — a net margin of minus-two points.”

Obviously, this is a concern. Maybe Tom Thibodeau will help. And maybe Joakim Noah will help as well. As Haberstroh pointed out: “The key to maximizing Boozer’s abilities will be pairing him up with an athletic big to clog the middle.”

Furthermore a league source said: “You need to pair him with a long athletic guy, whereas Lee and Stoudemire are really much more limited to being on an up-tempo team, and they need long, athletic defensive guys with them. And Boozer can do that for someone, and he’s a space eater. He’s a totally different cat.”

So there may be hope after all.

Warning — Handle with Care:
In six seasons with the Jazz, Boozer missed 138 games. That’s a lot. And I doubt there are many Bulls fans who aren’t worried about Boozer breaking down…especially after what they’ve been through with Luol Deng. I don’t know. Maybe we can keep him in a plastic bubble when he’s not playing.

Character issues:
We all know about how he allegedy stabbed the Cavaliers in the back (after an under-the-table handshake deal), and how he seemed to wear out his welcome in Utah. But wait. There’s more.

According to ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell: “As a quick aside, the day Boozer and the Bulls agreed to the deal, I was asked to go on a talk show in Salt Lake City. Granted, the hosts may have been a little biased in their assessment of his play, but the prevailing theory they had for Chicago fans was, ‘Buyer Beware.’ Boozer developed a reputation as a guy who didn’t always play through injuries and looked out for himself. The guys in Salt Lake City admitted that he was a great player, but they didn’t sound broken up that he was leaving.”

Fortunately, the leadership on this team will come from Rose and Noah.

Summary:
Boozer is a primetime inside scorer and a league-leading rebounder. The Bulls will need a little luck for him to stay healthy, but if he does, he’s going to make his teammates (particularly Rose) better on the offensive end. And hopefully Thibs and Noah can make him a little more serviceable on the defensive end.

More Carlos:
NBA.com profile
ESPN.com profile
Basketball-Reference.com Profile
82games.com Player Stats
Wikipedia entry

Bonus video:
Watch Carlos give you some lesson on post play:

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9 Responses to 2010-11 Scouting Report: Carlos Boozer

  1. rahl@hotmail.com'
    Keith September 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    Hence we need to keep taj. booz and taj can split the time and less wear and tear on booz.

  2. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    bullsfandom September 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Thanks for this Matt. I’m not really sold on all of his ‘negative’ qualities yet. If you look hard enough at anybody in the league you will see faults in their game. Just the way it is.

  3. Inception September 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    the year will be a resounding success if Big Booz can play 70+ games and maintain similar #’s he put up with the Jazz.

    if not, the critics will make their voices heard.

  4. leescr@msn.com'
    Lee Scruggs September 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Nice work Matt. I think that everyone knew that Boozer’s defensive deficiencies came as part of his package–along with his lack of height compared to other elite 4′s (Gasol, Duncan, Garnett etc.). One reason he was such a fit for the Bulls is that he had interior back up with Noah and Miller–who’s exit could be the biggest misstep from this summer if Noah goes down. Chicago gets all of his offensive plusses, cap space from not having to pay $20 million while covering his weaknesses–as long as he and Noah stay healthy. Taj Gibson provides the win/win because while limiting Boozer’s exposure to injury he can learn low-post scoring from one of the best in the business. This why talk of giving up Noah or Gibson is absolute nonsense without solid definsive relpacements. Can you imagine Melo coming here with out Noah or Gibson–with he and Boozer having to pick up the defensive load up front? The Bulls would make Denver’s current misery look like a walk in the park. Derrik might consider leaving then.

  5. admata1789@gmail.com'
    BigUpsTo#15 September 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    Awesome post Matt,

    Here is another great video I ran into that should have Bulls fans feeling pretty good about signing Boozer…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2qlhhMYEuI

  6. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    Dj September 22, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    Like I said before, Boozer don’t disappoint me! I was one of those fans that wanted Chris Bosh or David Lee this summer.

  7. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog September 22, 2010 at 3:01 am #

    Boozer will be a great fit for the Bulls. He is a legitimate 20/10 guy, and should work well with Noah and Deng. Bulls were a good rebounding team last year and will be even better with Boozer pulling them down too. Taj should get a lot of minutes spelling Boozer, and the other bigs. I see a solid, solid Bulls team this year.

    Carmelo and his wife should go to New Jersey and have fun. Noah, Boozer and Deng will be one of the top frontlines in the NBA this year.

  8. Matt Steigenga September 22, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    Finally a dominant low post scorer for the first time on this Bulls team since 2001 (when we last had Elton Brand). This team has a great PG (Rose), dominant Low Post Scorer (Boozer), great outside shooting with Korver and if Rose has improved plus Earl Watson, two good slashers in Deng and Brewer, Dennis Rodman type of guy in Noah, and good depth. ANd these guys will have the hunger to play defense and a great defensive coach to lead them. If we got Carmelo great but we have the tools to be great even without him. PLease everyone sleep on the Bulls because we will talk with our play on the court bot with those ESPN analyst kissing the rear-ends of the Miami Cheat and Boston Celthicks.

  9. chicondo@hotmail.com'
    luvabullnj September 24, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    Here’s wishing for a healthy season for Booz.
    The only time I felt good about Boozer was when he first came out of Duke and played well for the Cavs. He beat the Duke player in the NBA stigma, overcame weight issues and turned into a draft steal in the second round. It all goes down hill from there.
    I hate what he did to Cleveland.
    I hate that he missed so many games with the Jazz.
    I hate how he tried to force a trade with the Bulls and then the Heat to get out of Utah last summer.
    I simply dislike the guy due to his character.

    However, I will pray that he stays healthy. I will cheer loud for him at the top of my lungs as long as he is a Bull. I will hope and pray that he will have learned his lessons and appreciate the tremendous fans in Chicago who are the best fans anywhere.

    Can’t wait for camp to start.

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