Bulls

Sam: Much ado about Bulls' Boozer

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Sam: Much ado about Bulls' Boozer

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 12:25 p.m.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

INDIANAPOLISThe only thing I care about is winning, Carlos Boozer explained. I dont care about the rest of it.

That should say it all. Not that hes apathetic, but despite the five-year, 76-million contract he signed in the offseason, it should now be obvious that the power forward simply isnt concerned about his production.

Actually, lets amend that assertion. Boozer would certainly like to play betterand so would his teammates, coaches and legion of Bulls fansbut hes come to understand that his play doesnt dictate the teams success.

Sure, hes bothered by the criticism. Who wouldnt be?

But in reality, the Pacers are devoting significant attention to Chicagos second-most established scorer and as long as he commands double teams and is a presence on the glass, Boozer is helping the Bulls win.

I liked the way he persevered. It was a tough game; foul trouble. I like the way he rebounded. He made the big shot late on the post move and things werent going his way, but he hung tough, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau after Thursdays Bulls win. Thats what you have to do in the playoffs. Theres a lot of things you have to get through. Theres adversity, sometimes calls arent going your way, sometimes youre in foul trouble, sometimes youre missing shots you normally make. You have to go through all that and then you still have to get things done in the end, and you have to have the belief you can get it done and he does.

I thought Carlos played very well. Rebounded the ball well, the ball went into the post, he had a big score late, he had three assists. He had the kick-out to Kyle, got us a wide-open three. Hes got to try to avoid foul trouble. Thats the thing thats taking him out of rhythm a little bit, but hes got to stay aggressive. Hes been in a lot of playoff games. He knows what he has to do, Thibodeau said Friday, a statement that probably has folks thinking he watched a different game. Its part of the responsibility when youre one of the best players on the team. That goes with the territory. Hes handled it extremely well. I thought he showed great poise in the fourth quarter. It wasnt going his way early, but he stayed the course, kept fighting. People collapse on him in the post. You have to, you do. You leave him single coverage, hes going to score.

The thing for Carlos is he just has to play. You guys worry about all that other stuff. Hes got to play to get his job done. Hes got to do what hes got to do for us, so if hes rebounding the ball, running the floor, getting deep post-ups, screening well, he doesnt have to score big points to play well. If theyre good shots and theyre his shots and hes missing them, thats part of the game. Hes still got to do all the other things to help the team win, so you have to have the ability to do well when youre not shooting well.

Thats par for the course for the predictable coach, who rarely criticizes his players publiclyand even then, hell only deliver a mild rebukebut Boozers teammates, although they could be biting their tongues, offered opinions in the same vein.

Carlos is fine, said Joakim Noah. Overall, Carlos is getting the ball where he wants it and its just a matter of time. Hes a very gifted player.

We expect big things from Carlos.

Echoed Derrick Rose: Hes going to find his way. Youve got to understand, theyre putting size on him and theyre doubling, so its going to be tough. Shots that he normally hits, he wasnt hitting Thursday, but rebounding, he was there. He just kept fighting.

Still, Boozer wasnt brought in to simply be a decoy. His defensive shortcomings would perhaps be more acceptable if he was putting up the 20-and-10 numbers expected of him, but that just hasnt been the case against a young, long and athletic Indiana frontcourt that smothered him for the better part of this first-round matchup.

In a physical series, foul trouble has been a convenient explanationit would be an excuse if the Bulls had dropped a game or twofor his offensive woes.

Tell me about it, Boozer responded when asked about the tight officiating. It throws your rhythm off a little bit, but for the most part, Ive been able to bounce back and do well, and were winning.

At the end of the day, all you can do is play. Youve got to be able to play through that kind of stuff. Sometimes the refs let you play, sometimes they call it tight, he continued. Its the playoffs. You cant sit down and worry about it.

You go on the road, things arent going to go easy for you. Youre not going to get the same calls you did at home; youve got to play through it.

Against the Pacers, as feisty as they may be, he gets a pass. As the postseason goes on, Boozer better heed his own advice and elevate his game or his season-long honeymoonthrough multiple injuries, seeming indifference on defense and inconsistent offensive productionmight just come to an end.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Michael Porter Jr.: 'I'm the perfect fit for today's NBA game'

Michael Porter Jr.: 'I'm the perfect fit for today's NBA game'

Michael Porter Jr. grabbed some attention when he remarked that he was "perfect fit for today's NBA game" during an appearance on The Will Cain Show.

The interview went a long way towards showing off the uber-confident nature of Porter, who has consistently talked about being the best player in his class throughout the draft process. Porter also remarked that he was "an immediate impact guy," and that he "doesn't want it to take long to be one of the best players in the NBA."

His hubris has been intruiging considering the mystery surrounding the prospect.

During the interview Porter added that he would be open to doing more workouts for NBA front offices ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft. The only workout he has completed so far was his pro day workout in Chicago, and multiple reports have cited that Porter did look good shooting, though he was in an isolated setting with no defenders.

The one thing Porter has not done much throughout the process is talk about his weaknesses, which is somewhat concerning seeing as he has much to improve on. The general consensus is that a healthy Porter can get buckets at will. But if he can improve his ball-handling, rebounding and passing skills, he will be much more than a go-to scorer. Tightening his ball-handling skills is likely the key, as the ability to grab the rebound and push in transition would be a huge boon for Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg's offense.

The biggest question when it comes to Porter on the Bulls is can he fit with Lauri Markkanen? Despite receiving many favorable Kevin Durant and Paul George comparisons leading up to the draft, there is a rising sentiment that his best position in the NBA may be the power forward spot. It is not yet known if he has the foot speed to stay in front of quicker wings in today's NBA. But at six-feet-ten-inches, it is easy to imagine him having a huge advantage against slower power forwards rather than wings. While Markkanen is not currently built to be a full-time center, playing him at the five with Porter at the four would present Hoiberg with a potentially devastating closing lineup.

Versatility is the name of the game in today's league, and Michael Porter Jr. may be the key to unlocking the full potential of Hoiberg's pace-and-space attack. 

Paul Zipser says he is unlikely to return to Bulls

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USA TODAY

Paul Zipser says he is unlikely to return to Bulls

Just two years after being drafted in the second round, Paul Zipser told German media that he doesn’t see the Bulls wanting him next season.

The Bulls have until mid-July to pick up Zipser's option.

"I would not be surprised if they no longer want me.” Zipser said in German and translated via Google Translate

“Actually, I'm pretty sure I will not play in Chicago soon.”

Last month, Zipser had surgery on his fractured left foot, in his native country of Germany, which grew speculation the Bulls wouldn’t pick up his player option for next season. Zipser said the surgery "went perfectly."

Zipser showed some flashes of potential in his rookie season, averaging 5.5 per game and 2.8 rebounds in 44 games. But this past season, he played more games, but injuries derailed him from improving his overall production. He finished with four points and 2.4 rebounds in 54 games, including 12 starts.

Zipser explained that things changed from his first year to his second year.

“They were very varied," Zipser said. "The first year was just going very well. I fought my way into the team from the beginning and showed how I can help the team. The Bulls just needed someone like me. That's why it worked so well. We benefited from each other - that's why we were successful.”

“That was very different. It was not right from the beginning, and I was already struggling with my injury. It was not quite clear what it is. If you have pain in your foot, you automatically go down a bit with intensity. You just do not want to hurt yourself and be completely out. It was then difficult for me to keep my head in the sport - I did not manage that well. Nevertheless, the injury should not be an excuse.”

Nothing is official yet, but it sounds like Zipser might not dress up in a Bulls uniform next year.