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Lakers season preview: Carlos Boozer profile

Will the much maligned acquisition live down to expectations?

Jared Wickerham


Name: Carlos Boozer

Season: 13th season (1st with Lakers)

Role: Veteran presence and post scorer.

The Good: Has worked his way from being a second-round pick (34th overall selection in the 2002 NBA Draft) into what will be his 13th season in the league, so despite all of the negativity regarding his acquisition, he still has value. He is a strong rebounder, and is able to score adequately from both the low-post and mid-range.

The Bad: His defense. From my look at the Lakers defense for the upcoming season:

"The 96.2 points per 100 possessions the Bulls held opponents to with Boozer on the bench would have vaulted the Bulls into No.1 in defensive efficiency, surpassing the Indiana Pacers. The 99.2 they posted with Boozer on the floor still would have been good enough for second place, where they finished, so Chicago wasn't hemorrhaging points with him on the floor. His reputation and the eye test, however, don't paint a picture of someone who is likely to come in and help the Lakers on defense."

The Could-Be: Boozer begins the year as a starter, allowing Randle a chance to gain confidence by feasting on over-matched backups for as many minutes as possible. Behind the scenes, he mentors the prized rookie, being one of the veteran influences that can guide him to the discipline and training habits necessary to have a long career in the NBA. Towards mid-season, he graciously steps aside and allows the younger players to get more extended run without complaining to the media or in the locker room.

The Hope-Not: Boozer’s play continues the downward trend that began in Chicago, and even worse, Byron Scott stubbornly sticks with him for his "veteran presence" despite the Lakers' defense suffering horribly due to his "veteran presence." He blocks the development of Randle and proves unwilling to mentor someone who he sees as coming for his job much like Taj Gibson did with the Bulls.

The Likely: Closer to the best case scenario than the worst. Boozer probably will not be thrilled by his eventual demotion to make room for the seventh-overall pick, but also likely realizes that he is auditioning for the other 28 teams in the league (excluding the Lakers and Bulls). Therefore, crowing about his role might make some of those suitors more tepid in their recruitment and eventual offers, and thus he will quietly accept any role he is given.

What It Means: If all goes according to that script, Boozer does not really help or hurt the Lakers. He is going to be a defensive minus, but this team is almost certain to be atrocious on that end anyway. Basically, as long as he does not actively hurt Randle’s development, Carlos Boozer won't really move the needle either way.

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