Maybe the former Alaska native just needed a little time to warm up?
In the third season of a 5-year $75 million deal with the Chicago Bulls, Carlos Boozer is finally making his presence felt.
Over the team's last seven games, Boozer has been dominant. Despite the most recent head-scratching home loss to the Phoenix Suns, Chicago beat both the Miami Heat and New York Knicks going away during that stretch.
Using an aggressive, rim-attacking style not seen since his days in Salt Lake as a member of the Utah Jazz, Boozer is averaging a double-double: 21.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. The prolific scoring has come on a very efficient 51% from the field and 77% from the free throw line.
To the delight of fans clamoring for it since his signing, the six-foot nine-inch 266 pound force of nature is getting BIG inside and going STRONG to the rack on a more consistent basis.
Read about Gar's take on Rip +the Bulls trade needs here.
His recent disregard for contact has been a nice compliment to his sweet-shooting mid-range game and his rare ability to finish easily with either hand.
After Boozer's 31-point thrashing of the Orlando Magic in his home state on Jan 2nd, Kirk Hinrich weighed in.
"We go to Carlos all the time early," Hinrich told the Chicago Tribune. "He's one of the guys we want to make plays for us. He had it going. Carlos in there and Rip coming off pindowns and the way they played him allowed our offense to flow pretty easy."
Until recently the 31-year old Boozer has been at the forefront of Bulls fans frustration, largely due to his post season struggles. Both in the Eastern Conference Finals two seasons ago against Miami when he was out-classed by Chris Bosh, and last year's well documented Game 6 flop against Philadelphia where he shot just 1-11.
Though high-standard Bulls fans will likely withhold judgment until the '12-'13 playoffs, Boozer's hot streak has been something to behold. Double-doubles in six of his last seven games have the Booze Hound tied for 5th in the NBA with Atlanta's Al Horford at 19 on the season.
The increased cohesiveness between fellow big Joakim Noah and the rest of Boozer's share-the-rock teammates has been apparent in contrast to prior seasons.
It will be interesting to see how Derrick Rose's reintegration, expected sometime after the All-Star break in late February or early March, will alter that chemistry, if at all.
"Thibs is coming to me a lot," Boozer told ESPNChicago.com. "My teammates are doing a great job of giving it to me in places I can be effective. My New Year's resolution of being more efficient and getting more wins is working out so far. I hope to keep it going."
Through two weeks Booze has remained on track.
Adam Jun covers the Chicago Bulls for Skyword, Inc. a search-driven media website.
Follow him on twitter for the latest developing Bulls news.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison Wikimedia