Should the Nets not look to contain Carlos Boozer?

Posted on: April 25th, 2013 by Devin Kharpertian Comments
Carlos Boozer, Kris Humphries

Carlos Boozer has wrecked Brooklyn this season. But maybe they should keep letting him. (AP)

I have a theory I think of as the scorer's paradox. If you, as a defender, make a scorer think they can beat you without having to work too hard, they'll often work less -- and take lesser shots because of it. Two years ago, Kris Humphries stopped Carmelo Anthony -- and almost every other great scorer -- nearly every time Anthony was isolated on him; not because Humphries was "The Melo Stopper," but because Anthony took low-percentage midrange shots against Humphries instead of working for more efficient shots.

Carlos Boozer has hit fadeaway jumpers at an excellent rate in the first two games of this series, and against the Nets all season. But those aren't highly effective shots to bet on -- for one, they don't draw fouls, and they rely on a player shooting off his normal balance.

Brooklyn Nets fans were aghast at how well Boozer seemed to tear Evans apart, but Evans's limited athleticism may have helped goad Boozer into taking those shots. In their final regular season game, Boozer shot 8-11 from outside the paint -- a very good number, and not one you want to give up.

But players don't shoot 8-11 outside the paint often, particularly not on the shots Boozer chose. In the first half of Game 1, Boozer only scored two field goals with Evans as his primary coverage -- both fadeaway jumpers -- and while Boozer got better looks against Evans in the second half, the rout was already on.

Evans did a solid job of keeping Boozer out of the paint, and because of his 6'8" frame, Boozer was able to loft jumpers over him -- which, in the long run, may not be a bad option for the Nets defensively. (One added benefit: this also, for the most part, keeps Boozer off the glass in those situations.) When Blatche was switched into single coverage with Boozer in those short stretches, Boozer was able to catch the ball much closer to the basket, which meant he had more effective, closer looks, even against the taller & longer center.

Is Blatche the answer?

Blatche could learn a lesson in annoyance from Evans, who on this (somewhat unique) possession, annoyed Boozer all the way down the floor and didn't allow him to set up:

Blatche is an intriguing matchup to put on Boozer if he can display the type of control that hasn't exactly typified his career. Boozer is one of the league's worst defenders -- even the Bulls, one of the best defenses in the league by design, are around league-average when he's on the floor -- and that's thanks to both Boozer's commitment to misread off-ball situations and his general lack of defensive acumen in on-ball situations. While Evans is not the right player to make the Bulls pay for Boozer's offensive flaws, Blatche is just that player -- provided he doesn't give up even more on defense.

If the Nets can continue to keep Boozer out of the paint -- whether that's with Evans, Blatche, Lopez, or anyone else -- and shooting fadeaway shots, they'll have a better chance at limiting points. If Blatche can keep track of Boozer and keep him from posting up inside the paint, that may be their best shot at two-way success.

Comments

  1. avatar Jon C says:

    I totally agree and have been thinking the same thing. They aren’t easy shots and he isn’t getting to the foul line. His scoring seems more dominate at times because the last three quarter the Nets have scored so few points. But looking back, he is averaging 19 per game but on 16 FGA. That is good, but hardly dominate. Brooks 19 points on 15 FGA is slightly better.

    While it would be great to shut Boozer down and Blatche might be the guy to do it, so far he has been nicely contained. And you can see how Reggie is working hard against him and keeping him from getting too close the basket.

    The Nets need to solve their offensive issues, this defensive matchup has been something they can live with.

  2. avatar Max Weisberg says:

    Game 1: Blatche-Lopez combo appeared 9 minutes into the game.

    Game 2: Blatche-Lopez combo appeared 33 minutes into the game.

    I think it’s an interesting dilemma of who to use to matchup with Boozer: Blatche may have more length than Evans, thus he would bother more jumpers from Boozer, but as said here, he will allow Boozer to get better post up position. I think it comes down to who can hurt the defensively inept Boozer on the other end more — clearly Blatche. Not only will he destroy Boozer 1-on-1, but he will allow for better floor spacing.

    Of course stubborn PJC will not adjust until its probably too late. But right now, I think Blatche needs to be in the game vs. Boozer while Evans is in there against Gibson (or any other PF they have). I would even start Blatche and use either Humphries or Evans on Mohammad in those few minutes that Blatche AND Lopez need to be out of the game.