Why the Utah Jazz need Carlos Boozer

All over Utah,  Jazz fans are talking about how the Utah Jazz have to sign and trade Carlos Boozer and get more size…

And they are dead wrong.

The size of the Los Angeles Lakers was an advantage this series for sure, but jettisoning Carlos Boozer probably isn’t going to give the Jazz the edge.

Trivia question: who has the most rebounds per game in the 2010 playoffs so far?

a) Pau Gasol
b) Andrew Bynum
c) Lamar Odom
d) Dwight Howard
e) Joakim Noah
f) Carlos Boozer

Boozer lacks size against Gasol

The answer is: f) Carlos Boozer.

Surprised?

Not only is Carlos Boozer one of the most effective power forwards in the league, regardless height, he is one of the most effective “bigs” in the NBA.

During the 2009-2010 NBA season, the Jazz’s undersized power forward, Carlos Boozer was:

o 6th in the NBA among all players at shooting percentage

o 3rd in the NBA among all players at defensive rebounding

o 4th in the NBA among all players in total rebounds

It takes a lot of heart to do that in this league, especially at his size.

During the regular season, Carlos Boozer grabbed up 29.9% of all defensive rebounds in the games he plays in, and in the playoffs he has grabbed up 29.3% of all defensive rebounds available to be grabbed in the games he played in.

What are the odds that the Jazz will get someone on a sign and trade with as good of production as Carlos Boozer, but with more length? Not good. In fact, that just isn’t going to happen.

What Boozer lacks in length he has learned to compensate with heart.

During the 2009-2010 regular season, Carlos Boozer has more double doubles than any other forward in the NBA except for Memphis’s Zach Randolf.

Yes,  Carlos Boozer had more double doubles than:

LeBron James
Pau Gasol
Chris Bosh
Tim Duncan
Dirk Nowitzki
Kevin Durrant
Amare Stoudemire

Carlos Boozer also has a better shooting percentage than that entire list, in fact, Boozer leads all forwards in shooting percentage.

Seriously Jazz fans, just who do you think the Jazz can get that is better than Carlos Boozer at his position?

Besides, your thinking is flawed if you think the Lakers can be beat by acquiring bigs, because you don’t just have to find big bodies, you have to find bigs that can outplay Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom and their system, the triangle offense. Yeah right.

There is a better way to beat the Lakers than trying to load up on quality bigs.

You watch: the Phoenix Suns, who likewise lack size when compared to the Lakers, will fare better than the Jazz… because they have shooters — and lots of them — and shooters that also play defense.

The Suns should be able to get stops and run on the Lakers. And in the half court, the Suns will space the floor very well with their shooters and make it very hard for the Lakers to double team without paying a price.

And if the Suns are effective, they may well force Lakers coach Phil Jackson to abandon his big lineup anyway and play Kobe at small forward, with Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar at guards, Lamar Odom at power forward, and Pau Gasol at center.

In other words, don’t try to out big the Lakers’ bigs, use effective guard play to force the Lakers to play smaller, which isn’t their strongest team.

The Jazz lost to the Lakers in the 2010 NBA Playoffs because they were beaten inside and out.

Nobody is talking about it, but it was the Jazz guards that let them down in the Lakers series.

The Lakers guards had a much easier time against the Jazz than they did the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kobe included.

Against the Thunder, Kobe averaged 23.5 points on 40.8% shooting. Against the Jazz, Bryant averaged 32.0 points on 52.3% shooting, and averaged nearly 6 assists per game as well.

If Derron Williams, Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver could have played better defense, and the Jazz made outside shots, the Jazz would still be in this series.

Look at the shot chart for that disastrous 2nd quarter of game 4: the Jazz missed EVERY shot that wasn’t in the paint. No outside shooting, plus 6 turnovers (4 by Jazz guards) put the Jazz in a hole they spent the rest of the game trying to dig themselves out of.

Take that quarter out of the books and the Lakers would only be ahead by 3 points, something the Jazz could have overcome, had their guards not let them down in Q2.

And in game 4 it was Lakers guard Shannon Brown who stepped up in response to the Jazz run with two huge 3 pointers and a dunk, not Andrew Bynum.

Better shooting, defense and decision making guards are cheaper, and are what the Jazz need most.

I like Derron Williams, and I know it is too easy to look back with 20/20 vision, but I really wonder about D-Will’s decision making in the clutch of game 3, when the Jazz had a real chance of winning the game.

Williams grabbed the inbounds pass, turned and dribbled once to the right, then crossed over hard to the left, making Artest stumble…

So Gasol left Boozer and ran to the free throw line to help…

Leaving Carlos Boozer totally wide open at the rim.

Either a bounce pass between Kobe and Gasol, or an ally oop to Boozer at the rim would have given the Jazz the win.

Trading Boozer won’t cure any of these ills.

Besides, in reality, the Jazz have a very talented, all-star caliber front line: Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Mehmet Okur. That’s not bad at all.

What the Jazz lack is what Phoenix has: a truck load of shooters who also play defense. If the Jazz could remedy that, and keep their bigs healthy, they’d be contenders.

Theoretically.

But not only would dumping Boozer not likely result in a net improvement for the Jazz, they’d be dumping one of the best reasons a free agent would have to come to Utah to play.

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