Thursday , Dec , 07 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Carlos Boozer: Still Worth Your Attention

I can still remember the day, the very moment actually. The day Carlos Boozer was drafted, or more accurately, when, on that day he was drafted.

Carlos Boozer: Still Worth Your AttentionThirty-fifth pick, that’s second round territory in case you get digits mixed up in your noggin. Before that, about nine picks before that, I was screaming at my television, fully convinced that it was somehow making a difference. You see, nine picks before thirty-five is twenty-six – that was the pick the Spurs had that year. Having been a fan of Boozer at Duke for some years now, and having been a Spurs fan for most of my life, I was all but certain that was the only pick for the Spurs to make.

Tough luck for me, because I could have screamed until I got bronchitis and John Salmons was still going to be the Spurs pick, a choice actually made the 76ers, which is where Salmons went in exchange for one Speedy Claxton who would eventually help the Spurs to an NBA championship. Alright, so fine, it worked out for me and San Antonio. It even worked out for Claxton and Salmons. But what about Boozer?

    Well through his first two seasons in Cleveland it looked like things might be working out just fine for him. Nothing spectacular, but he was quickly showing why more than a few teams would have been wise to pick him up before Stern stopped announcing the picks that draft night. He broke his way into the starting lineup about mid-way through his rookie season and by his second year he was a full time started and averaging a very respectable 15 and 11 per game. He was on his way.

    Then something happened. The scene shifted for Boozer and he was off to Utah, to play for the Jazz. At first I have to admit, it seemed like a perfect fit. Boozer’s workman like attitude and rough and tough game seemed like the perfect fit in Utah, and at the time the right successor to Karl Malone. But alas it wasn’t going to go down like that.

    Injuries crept in and held Boozer to just 84 games in two seasons. When he was playing he was playing well, it was just that hamstring and foot issues kept him off the floor and quite simply let people forget he was around, even in Utah.

    It was some time around last season – this time my recollection doesn’t serve so well – that I got to thinking about good old Boozer. For being a guy I had once implored people to take notice of, he was making it kind of hard for me to be right. We all knew he could play by this time. But now the question would be whether this tough guy was actually injury prone, and what that would leave of his career.

    This time I wasn’t as vocal, not screaming, but just as sure – Boozer would prove the naysayers wrong again.

    Now this season, it looks like Boozer is back on track and I’m looking more right every day. Healthy and better than ever, Boozer is taking the league by surprise, and so are his Jazz. The Jazz have leapt out to an impressive and league leading 15-4 record, and Boozer has led the way averaging 22.7 points per game and 12.2 boards per game. He’s also shooting nearly 59 percent from the field, making apparently clear that he is the go to guy for the Jazz, and he’s more than capable of handling that role.

    I’m naturally a skeptic; I have to admit that much. And in all honesty, I’m not sure what to expect from the Jazz for the rest of the season, but I can be sure that Carlos Boozer will be playing big and proving doubters wrong. I’ve always been sure of that.