According to ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell, Bulls forward Carlos Boozer practiced for the first time in two months on Monday and may be ready to play against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday:
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau liked what he saw of Boozer in practice.
“He looked fine. He was very active,” Thibodeau said. “He didn’t have any problems with the contact. He’s in great shape so that was encouraging. Shot the ball well. We’re not quite sure if he’ll go on Wednesday. We’ll see how it goes [Tuesday] and then the shootaround on Wednesday. But for a first day it was very good.”
Boozer said playing on Wednesday will be his decision.
“I’m going to see. I’m going to see how it feels each day,” Boozer said. “Right now, I’m going to go ice it down when I get done talking to [the media]. Do treatment twice a day, maybe three times a day, and just see how it feels on Wednesday before the game.”
Having Boozer back will be great for the Bulls’ offense. Boozer is an accomplished low-post scorer, can finish with either hand around the basket and is a master of getting “garbage buckets,” and can stretch the floor with his unorthodox-but-effective midrange jumper. The Bulls’ offense could use another scorer in the worst way — the team is currently 18th in offensive efficiency, and only Kobe Bryant has a higher usage rate than Derrick Rose.
One question Bulls fans might have is how well Boozer will integrate into the team’s defensive system. Tom Thibodeau has already worked his magic on Chicago’s defense, and the Bulls are currently fifth in the league in defensive efficiency. Boozer has never been known for his defense, and he will replace former Pac-1o Defensive Player of the Year Taj Gibson in the starting lineup. Gibson can’t hold a candle to Boozer as an offensive player, but he’s very mobile and a good shot-blocker — Gibson averages a block and a half per game, while Boozer has averaged less than half a block a game over the course of his career. But even if Boozer makes the Bulls a little bit worse defensively, his offense should more than make up for it and help the Bulls become bona fide contenders in the East.