Chicago Bulls fans were frustrated with Carlos Boozers’ performance last season and let him know about it. Utah Jazz fans stood off in the corner nodding with a “we warned you” look on their face.
But Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wants you to back off.
Thibodeau did what any good coach would do and defended his star in speaking with Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com.
“I felt a big part of that criticism was unjust. He didn’t have a great year, but when you look at what he did, he had a very good year and I expect him to be better this year because hopefully, he’ll be healthy,” he said. “But if you look at Carlos’ career, you’re looking at a guy who has performed at a high level and his team has won at a high level, so I’m expecting great things from him this year.”
Boozer was not bad last season, but his game did take a step back from previous years. His shooting percentage fell (from 56 percent to 51 percent) and he grabbed fewer rebounds, basically he was just off. The injuries had something to do with it, but Thibodeau defended his defense.
“I’ve said this all along about Carlos: Carlos has been one of the best defensive rebounders in this league for a long time,” Thibodeau said Thursday. “So when you evaluate our starters, defensively I thought overall, it was good. It can be better. We play a collective defense; he’s part of it.
“I think the thing that set him back last year was the injury in training camp and then missing the two months, but I also think he had stretches where he played great for us and after reviewing the film, I’ll say this,” he continued. “That he was much better defensively than he was given credit for.”
If the Bulls are going to take a step forward this year they are going to have to get more out of Boozer. They need a wing who can create shots and some depth, too, but Boozer has to be better. We’ll see how he performs when healthy.
The Warriors let Briante Weber go (to the Hornets). Golden State wouldn’t do that without another third point guard lined up.
The likely replacement: Jose Calderon, who’s being bought out by the Lakers.
Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:
Calderon is in the process to be bought out by the Lakers, after which he will become a free agent. Once he clears waivers, the Warriors, according to multiple sources, will be waiting to offer a physical examination and a contract.
The 35-year-old Calderon hasn’t been good in a few years. He’s a major defensive liability, and his lack of burst makes it more difficult for him to capitalize on his remaining offensive skills: a smooth standstill jumper and acute passing.
But the Warriors won’t ask much of him, sticking him behind Stephen Curry and Shaun Livingston. Draymond Green can also be a de facto point guard, and so can Andre Iguodala.
Contending teams too often fill their deep bench with over-the-hill veterans whose experience make them seem reliable but are actually overwhelmed in the moment due to a lack of athleticism. Golden State made that mistake last year with Anderson Varajeao, who didn’t make a shot in 41 Finals minutes and was -9 in Game 7.
Calderon offers a much better chance of succeeding if pressed into a limited role. If he plays important minutes, he’ll bring a steady style, best he can still execute it.
But the Warriors better hope Calderon remains glued to the bench during the playoffs. That presents a far more dependable path to victory.
The 76ers could finish the season with the last No. 1 pick and the best rookie in years sidelined.
One one hand, Philadelphia should be thrilled that describes two players.
On the other hand, it’s not ideal to have so much talent injured.
No. 1 pick Ben Simmons is definitely out for the rest of the year. And it doesn’t sound encouraging for Joel Embiid, who has been hampered by a knee injury.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
And then there was Derrick Rose.
The Knicks’ big-name offseason acquisitions* are falling one by one.
New York is releasing Brandon Jennings. Now Joakim Noah is out.
*I’m not counting Courtney Lee, who is unknown to far too many casual fans.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
The Kings reportedly coveted Buddy Hield in last year’s draft. Once the Pelicans picked him No. 6, Sacramento traded down from No. 8.
Several months later, the Kings traded for him in the DeMarcus Cousins deal.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive apparently communicated his intentions at the Pelicans’ two games in Sacramento this season.
Sean Cunningham of ABC 10:
Vivek always, every time — even the past two times — he always talk about, “We’re always pushing hard for you.” He said, “We’re still going to get you.” He kept saying that.
I was surprised with him saying that, but now, when I saw I was going to Sacramento, I said, “Oh, these guys are really serious about me.” I just kind of know they were determined about getting me.
This is wild!
Hield obviously doesn’t outright say the Kings’ front office rushed this trade through before the Cousins-loving owner, awestruck by the prospect of having the next Stephen Curry, changed his mind. But Hield’s statement runs right in line with all those rumors.
Even at face value, Ranadive’s words, assuming Hield is accurately conveying them, are something — especially for an owner who has denied much basketball involvement.
Sacramento is some kind of place.