Patience preached by Boozer's Bulls teammates

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Patience preached by Boozer's Bulls teammates

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
2:02 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

Patience is a virtue. In the case of Carlos Boozer's Bulls debut, nobody understands that better than current and former teammates Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer.

"Well, its going to be a little different this time because before, he was coming into a system he already knew inside and out, and theres a little new stuff here," Korver told CSNChicago.com after Wednesday night's loss to the Magic. "Its one thing to see and watch in a game, but to be out there doing it is different. Hes a pretty smart basketball player, so hopefully hell it wont take too long."

"Its not a certain timetable. Any athlete or some people that cover the game know that basketballs a game of rhythm, so the sooner you can pick it up, the sooner you can get in the flow," added Brewer, who played with Boozer in Utah from 2006-07 until last season, when he was dealt to Memphis at the trade deadline. "With him, its a whole new city, whole new system, teammates. You watch them play, but youve got to get used to being on the court, playing at game speed and competing at a high level like he does, facing great talents night in and night out."

It's no secret that Boozer's tenure in Utah was riddled with injuries, as he missed significant time in three of his six seasons (missing 138 regular-season games) with the Jazz. Boozer's 2004-05 campaign was curtailed after 51 games and he only played in 33 games in the subsequent 2005-06 after returning to the lineup in the middle of the season, so perhaps his last injury-plagued season in Salt Lake City best illustrates what the Bulls can expect.

Boozer went out of the Jazz lineup on Nov. 19, 2008, and returned on Feb. 23, 2009, following arthroscopic knee surgery. In his first game back, he recorded two points and five rebounds, not dissimilar to Wednesday's five-point, two-rebound outing.

His next few games showed gradual improvement--12 points and four boards on Feb. 25, six and five on Feb. 28, 10 and nine on March 1--before a breakout performance on March 4, 2009, his fifth game back, when he notched a more Boozer-like 20 points and 17 rebounds.

"You never know with him. Hes a top-tier player in the league, so next game he might have his rhythm back. It might be a week, it might be two weeks, it might be three weeks," Brewer told CSNChicago.com. "Hes a high-talent guy. Even though hes been working hard off the floor, I still think youve got to get your legs back, your conditioning back and your rhythm shooting the ball, and when that comes back, I think youll know the answer about the timetable because hell be a 20-and-10 guy again.

"From Boozs standpoint, he wants to come in and kind of fit in. At the same time, hes got people expecting him to put up big numbers. Its a bit of a tricky thing to do, but the biggest thing is to get comfortable as fast as you can. Thats going to happen through practice and watching film," said Korver, who was traded to Utah from Philadelphia midway through the 2007-08 season. "His first game back was Orlandothats going to be a tough matchup for anyone, regardlessand thats your first basketball game in two months. Its been a long time since he played in a game, so that plus the fact that hes had a broken hand."

Although Boozer claimed his conditioning was fine, he admitted to reporters the difference between practice speed and game speed caught him by surprise. In addition, as his teammates mentioned, learning a new system will take an adjustment and even though by all accounts he's been a diligent pupil during his absence, he appeared to be a step behind on both ends--in fairness, the entire squad seemed out of sync, possibly due to trying to accommodate Boozer and vice versa--during certain points of the Orlando loss.

"Booz, hes hard on himself and he expects great things. He told me, I feel like I need to go out there and score 20 points and 10 rebounds every game, and I was like, Booz, I know youre capable of doing that and youre that type of player, but youve got to take it one game at a time, one possession at a time and try to make positive plays whether its on the offensive end or the defensive end,'" revealed Brewer. "Overall, as a whole, we didnt play well as a team and that puts a lot of pressure on him, his first game back because we kind of put ourselves in a hole quick. I think everybody was kind of pressing their game to make something happen, try to get a 20-point play on one play and you cant do that in basketball. Were going to get better, were going to work on it in practice and I think hes going to get better, as well."

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms 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.

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

With one Bulls practice in the books and one more to go in the night session, it was evident from the primary parties that Rajon Rondo has earned instant trust and credibility with his play.

Or more pointedly, his brain and his mouth.

“He’s got the best voice on the team,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “When you have point guard out there who can get you into something and talk the way he does, that sets the tone for everybody.”

Apparently the ultra-intelligent point guard has been a galvanizing force since the team starting convening last month for informal workouts, as Hoiberg believes Rondo has grasped his system instantly and brought some of the younger teammates along.

“The biggest thing that I’ve been most impressed with with Rajon is the minute he stepped on this floor when he got back here in August is he pulled everybody together,” Hoiberg said. “If you have a guy not only offensively getting you into something but defensively making sure guys are pointing and talking and making sure guys are pointing and talking and getting back and matched up in transition, that’s where it starts. He’s been here. He’s been great. He’s a guy who you can watch film with in September before we got rolling here in camp. He got us off to a great start.”

Needing Rondo to be vocal will be a plus for Hoiberg considering the coach’s soft-spoken approach, and those two being on one accord will be a key considering Rondo’s history with coaches over time.

Rondo’s intelligence, which most consider to be genius-like, has already come in handy and will help with the perimeter adjustment of fitting himself, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade together.

“Like I always say, when you put good basketball players out there on the floor you just go,” Butler said. “Everything just falls into place, falls into line. You don’t have to worry about too much of anything. And with him he’s an incredible leader. He just wants everybody to be successful. He’s going to put you in position to be just that.”

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Rondo has led the league in assists three times and his career 8.7 assists-per-game average is third among active players behind Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

“He has been around the league a long time,” Hoiberg said. “He studies the league. If he sees a small guy guarding Jimmy, he’s going to find a way to get him the ball on the block. The more you can have those guys recognizing things on the floor---if Robin Lopez is coming down and I have to yell, ‘Get the ball to Robin’ then we have issues -- and Rondo obviously will be a big help with that.”

So yeah, he’ll have the ball in his hands plenty.

“He’s super-smart. He really sees things before they even develop out there on the basketball floor, so it makes everybody’s job a lot easier," Butler said. "And not only is he leading the team on offense, but he’s constantly talking on defense, so he’s letting everybody know where they have to be. Wade’s the same way, so he makes everybody’s job easier as well, and you learn from that, so you just follow suit for the most part.’’

Butler joked that there will often be times where a Rondo pass zigs while he’ll be zagging early in camp while chemistry is developing, saying “I’m sorry, Rajon, because you’re going to definitely get a turnover from me one game,” and that he won’t be opposed to Rondo getting on him or anybody else in the meantime.

“I’m good with that,” Butler said. “I’ll challenge him right back if I see something that he’s not doing correctly. I want him to hold me accountable, me hold him accountable, everybody holding everybody accountable, because then everybody is going to learn from their mistakes and not to it again.”

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

In July, when asked how contract talks were going with star forward Artemi Panarin, general manager Stan Bowman said he wouldn’t negotiate through the media.

He reiterated that on Tuesday.

“Obviously Artemi's a big part of our team. We're excited for the season he had. We're looking forward to him building on that as well. Then the negotiations will be what they are between his agent and myself,” Bowman said. “I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent]. He's a very knowledgeable guy, and Artemi put a lot of faith in him. And Tom and I will work to get something done.”

Panarin is entering the final year of his current contract and is coming off a monster rookie season in which he recorded 77 points and took home the Calder Trophy. Panarin took home plenty of bonus money thanks to that season, too.

The 24-year-old could certainly command a hefty price, which would once again be a major concern to the cash-strapped Blackhawks. The salary cap is at $73 million for this season, a small increase from 2015-16 ($71.4 million). Factor in another likely small increase next season and the large contracts the Blackhawks are already doling out – Brent Seabrook’s eight-year deal with a cap hit of $6.875 kicks in this season – and could Panarin be another one that gets away?

But Bowman remains optimistic.

“We're always confident,” he said. “You go into a negotiation expecting to get a deal done. That's the way I've been in the past and that's the way I am now.”