We argue. You decide.
CARLOS BOOZER (by Jorge Azze)
Booz is undersized at 6-9, but has been the face of consistency at the power forward spot.
Since getting to the League in ’02, Boozer has averaged a double-double in five of his eight seasons, including the last four years in a row. He is a smart guy, Duke alum, with ridiculous work ethic. When he was growing up in Alaska, he and his pops played basketball during the cold season (which I assume is all the time) to get stronger. It worked: Boozer is a beast in the paint who’s always willing to throw elbows for a rebound, and has a pretty nice little baby hook to go with his super-consistent jumper.
He’s got two All-Star appearances, and more importantly, a whole lot of playoff experience. Boozer has started in 44 playoff games, in which he outperformed his regular-season averages, putting up 20.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per playoff game. Compare that to Jefferson’s seven career postseason games, where he came off the bench and averaged just 6 points and 6 rebounds.
Boozer has a great chance of getting even better numbers this year with a stronger, younger, quicker team in Chicago. Not saying that Jefferson’s numbers won’t improve now that he has Deron Williams dishing it to him, but Boozer has Derrick Rose now, as well as Joakim Noah, who will relentlessly annoy anyone else in the paint and free up space. Also, Booz brought some buddies over from Utah, Ronnie Brewer and three-point specialist/Ashton Kutcher look-alike Kyle Korver, so he’ll have some familiarity there.
Age and potential is where people may disagree with Boozer being the better choice. Jefferson is taller, and probably more talented offensively. But Boozer has had much better coaches than Al Jefferson. Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and for USA Basketball, as well as Jerry Sloan in Utah are significantly better than Doc Rivers, and a year each of Randy Wittman, Kevin McHale and Kurt Rambis (yes, I know Sloan is Al Jefferson’s coach now, but the season hasn’t started).
After watching Boozer at Duke “back in the day” and seeing him in the League for so long, you’re probably thinking he’s too old and breaking down, but at 28, he’s only three years older than Jefferson. That being said, he’s from Alaska and his offseason home is in Miami. Anyone that can deal with that kind of temperature shift must be pretty durable.
AL JEFFERSON (by Casey Mack)
Early in the offseason, Deron Williams was extremely upset about losing his All-Star teammate Carlos Boozer. However, shortly after the Jazz front office brought in a better suitor to fill in their go-to big man spot.
In a very lopsided trade, the Jazz acquired two-time All-Star snub Al Jefferson for just two second-round draft picks. Deron quickly changed his mood. At his introductory press conference, Al said that D-Will told him, “I will make you an All-Star.” Deron is 100 percent on the money. Now with a better team and great point guard feeding him, Jefferson is sure to make Utah fans forget about Boozer.
Jefferson is a slightly better scorer than Boozer. Ever since high school, Al has been known for his polished low-post game. During his senior year at Prentiss High School in Mississippi, Jefferson average 42 points per contest. His skills on the block translated smoothly to the pros. If we look at scoring average per 48 minutes in his career, Jefferson (25.66 ppg) edges Boozer (25.29 ppg). He scores more per minute, and added to the fact that Jefferson has averaged more minutes per game over the last three seasons than Boozer (34.9 mpg to 33.86), that gives you a slightly better offensive weapon.
Every possession matters in big games. When you drop the rock down low to Big Al, it’s almost a certain two points. The same can’t be said for Boozer. He turns over the ball at a higher rate than Jefferson. The argument could be made that Jefferson doesn’t give up the ball to teammates as much as Boozer, but I’d rather have the sure two points from my best post scorer than the possibility of a turnover by trying to rack up assists.
Defense wins games. At the foundation of every championship team is a defensive-minded frontcourt. Boozer is notorious for his defense, or lack thereof. Jefferson is not exactly Ben Wallace either, but he is definitely better at the defensive end of the floor. For his career, Jefferson averages 1.2 blocks per game. Boozer is far behind in this category with a disappointing 0.5 blocks per contest. With their skill level being so close, this fact is extremely detrimental in Boozer’s case.
It was clear that Boozer did not want to be in Utah. However for Jefferson, he’s extremely happy to finally be part of a good team. With Jefferson’s skill set and hunger to win, his time with the Jazz will be more memorable than Boozer’s tenure. It a close call either way, but the Jazz are better off with Jefferson over Boozer.
Who do you think is better?