Carlos Boozer made an unlikely choice for his offseason trainer this summer.
"Listen, it's all about winning," Boozer said. "I don't care if I have 10 points. I don't care if I have 30. I want to win a championship, you know. That's the bottom line for me. Sometimes I get more shots, sometimes I don't get shots. I don't really care. I just want to win."
Boozer may want to win, but he's also shown he does care how he performs.
During the summer, Boozer sought out a new basketball trainer to help him develop him into a more all-around player and touch up on his fundamentals. While the Miami-based trainer, Devel King, was an unlikely choice for Boozer as King had no previous experience with NBA players, Boozer believes this season will turn out differently because of his work with King.
"I felt like the trainer I had before, things I was doing before wasn't getting me to be where I wanted to be at," Boozer said. "I wanted to switch it up a little bit. Ran into coach King. He was actually training my kids at the time. I loved what he was doing with them, a lot of fundamental work, which is great, a lot of footwork, jabbing, different things I thought that I need for my game.
"Sometimes when you play so long in the NBA, sometimes you forget some of the basic stuff, and he was able to re-teach me some of the basic stuff that helps my game a lot. It's simple, but it's super effective. ... I was in the gym a lot, in the lab a lot working on everything, man. Defense, offense, ball handing, shooting, rebounding, going to be a complete player."
King said he nearly crashed his truck when he received the call from Boozer to work him out. But as much as King was shocked, he never treated Boozer differently than any of his other clients, who range from kindergartners to college players. King was critical of Boozer when he needed to be.
King showed early he wasn't going to pump up Boozer's ego. King knew Boozer from training his kids, but he wasn't exactly familiar with his game. The first thing King did was study Boozer's skills, and he found flaws. Most importantly, King believed Boozer needed a refresher course on basketball 101.
"When I YouTubed his game to watch a little film, I realized he didn't have any fundamentals in his game," King said by phone. "He got away from all the basic stuff, so I went back to the basic basketball stuff.
"It's more about the money and not having fun (why NBA players forget the basics.) I think that's what it is. On his last day, he said I brought the kid out of him. It was going back to the basic stuff. He has a sense of urgency for this season, this upcoming season."
King said they worked to fine-tune Boozer's face-up game, his ball handling and his post moves. And with those improvements, King believes Boozer can be a 25-point, 10-rebound player.
Last season, Boozer's second with the Bulls, he averaged 15 points and 8.5 rebounds, both his worst since his rookie season in 2002-03. Of the 72 games he played last season, he had 14 games of less than double-digit points and 16 games of 20-or-more points. He also had one game of 30-plus points.
"The stuff I taught him this year, he's going to be real consistent," King said. "I feel like, you know, he's got that hunger back now."
Boozer wouldn't comment on what sort of statistics he hopes to put up this season, but he said he and his teammates have to step up in Derrick Rose's absence.
"Absolutely, I love being challenged," Boozer said. "At the end of the day, you want to continue to improve as a player, especially this year being without our star Derrick. It's going to be on all of us to step up and win games. Usually he carries such a load for us offensively, the rest of us have to step up, myself, Luol (Deng), Rip (Hamilton), Taj (Gibson), Joakim (Noah), everybody. Obviously I take on that challenge as well."