By every popular metric, the Chicago Bulls had a disappointing season. Despite earning the East's top record and a top seed, injuries to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and others foiled their dreams of a championship. While it might have been a case of bad luck rather than some structural defect in the squad, there's a reason that every Bulls fan I know (including our own Kelly Dwyer) feels a little worse about the NBA postseason today. The team had high expectations, and they didn't meet them.
"I thought I played well, especially with the kind of season it was," Boozer said, when asked to assess his second season in Chicago. "We had the best record again in basketball, won our division again, had the top seed again, that's all that matters, yo."
A charitable look at Boozer's comments would note that he was probably trying to focus on the positives in a moment of terrible disappointment. A cynical view, as well as a more accurate one, would call Boozer out for apparently not realizing that the team with the best record in the league is typically proud of that mark because it gives them an easier path to the championship. And, on top of that, that cynic would probably also point out that Boozer was abjectly terrible in the post, finishing with a PER of 10.2 and 13.5 ppg on a field-goal percentage of 42.2 percent. In Thursday night's Game 6, when the Bulls needed all the scoring they could get, he played only 27 minutes.
Even if we judge the season by the things Boozer thinks matter, he didn't play much of a role in that success. When Chicago signed him to a big contract in the summer of 2010, they hoped that Boozer would team with Rose to form one of the league's best inside-outside combos. Instead, they've gotten an inefficient scorer with lacking defense. It's all gone terribly wrong.
The result is that Boozer sounds remarkably tone-deaf, and not just because he doesn't seem to realize that most players want to win a championship instead of getting an extra-long vacation. As a disappointment, he should do whatever possible to prove that he'll come back next season with a renewed commitment to his game. With this interview, he sounds more like a guy who will be perfectly happy to make approximately $50 million over the next three seasons and not do much else. It's a depressing thought for the Bulls and their fans, but unless Boozer changes his outlook it's not going to get much better.