|Averaging nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds per game this season, Boozer has fought off inconsistency to have some monster performances to lead the Bulls without Derrick Rose|
To say the least, this season has been an interesting one for the Chicago Bulls and their (crazy) head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Star point guard Derrick Rose, who tore his ACL last season, has not appeared in a Bulls game this season and it was widely predicted that the stud's absence would cripple Chicago into mediocrity. Clearly, that prediction has become false since the Bulls are currently sitting atop the Central Division with a solid 19-13 record.
They may have started the season poorly (going 6-7 in first 13 games) but have rebounded wonderfully since, winning 13 of 19 to bring them to the record they have now.
Players that normally take secondary roles for Coach Thibs when Rose is playing — like Luol Deng and Joakim Noah — have assumed leadership positions on the team and, by averaging 15-plus points apiece, have set a great example for their teammates and have established a winning and positive attitude in a locker room that was expected to be in despair without its star.
In this surprising beginning to a season, one player has specifically stood out as of late among the other Bulls for how he has reacted and played much of this season even with recent poor playoff performances and some inconsistencies in production.
That would be Carlos Boozer, who is averaging 15 points and nearly 10 rebounds in 30.3 minutes per game.
A main criticism of the Bulls' starting power forward has been his stunning tendency to simply disappear in some games when solid play from him is needed the most.
Sporting some sub-10-point performances in which he shoots at a freaskishly low percentage, Boozer has been really bad in some games, games which infuriate fans, teammates, and coaches alike. Recently, though, the Duke product has been showing some more of the consistent and very high-scoring performances that defined Boozer's golden years with the Jazz.
He has scored 15 or more points in each of his last five games, the last three of which were 31-, 27-, and 24-point outings against the Magic, Heat, and Cavaliers respectively. Unironically, all three of those games were wins for the Bulls.
Although it is normally said that the NBA is a league of superstars and that teams cannot win without them, these Bulls are showing that role players coming together and playing within their strengths can produce the same kind of success that a star-player would or could.
Helped by the resurgence of Boozer, continued play from Deng and Noah, and additional contributions from guys like Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson, and Jimmy Butler, the handicapped Bulls have been able to more than weather the storm in D-Rose's absence, to the tune of a division-leading record.
Maybe how much Boozer has helped with that will quiet some of the critics that have bagged on his play during his tenure in Chicago. As we know, nothing shuts up a hater like big production and wins.