IT’S been a while since I have done a Compare the Pair piece and the other day I was trying to think of two players who I could dissect. As I was thinking this I was channel surfing through TSN, which is the Canadian version of ESPN. All of sudden I stumbled across the Australian Open and saw Caroline Wozniacki’s fiance David Lee in the stands. Then I, swear to god, changed to the next channel and saw Carlos Boozer breaking down an NBA game at halftime. It was destiny.
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DAVID Lee’s got the ring, Carlos Boozer doesn’t. That is a glaring difference in this debate and could sway some votes to Lee’s side. However, in Boozer’s 13 NBA seasons he made the playoffs eight times compared to Lee’s five out of 12 years as a pro. When it came to those playoff appearances, Boozer was easily the better player with his play a large reason for his team making the postseason, while Lee made all of his appearances as a role player towards the end of his career.
Image from givemesport.com
OVER their entire careers Boozer was the one who averaged the most points, even though David Lee shot better percentages almost across the board. When it came to their offensive skillset, Boozer probably gets the nod again for his ability to stretch the floor and hit a few more mid-range shots than his frontcourt foe. The former Utah All-Star also takes the consistency nod, averaging double digits in all 13 of his seasons while Lee quickly dropped off after he left the Warriors for a reduced role. It’s closer than a lot of the stats might make it seem, but Carlos still gets the nod.
NEITHER of the 6′ 9″ big men was known for their defensive prowess or talents when it came to shutting down opponents. Again Boozer gets a narrow advantage when comparing box scores and a lot of the advanced stats back up that claim. 3-0 Boozer if you’re keeping score at home.
LEE – ONE of my earliest game-winners I can remember was David Lee’s infamous tip-in with 0.1 left on the clock. That might his most memorable moment, but by no means is it his best moment. That came on the 2nd of April in 2010 when Lee went off for a huge triple-double with 37 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists. It was the first 35/20/10 game since Kareem in 1976 and until DeMarcus Cousins last week, no-one had repeated the feat since that 2010 night at Oracle Arena.
BOOZER – WHILE Boozer didn’t have a historic stat line like Lee, he did fill up a box score in an impressive way when it mattered most. After scoring a career playoff-high 41 points in Game 2 of their 2007 first-round battle with the Houston Rockets, Utah found themselves in a winner take all Game 7 on their own court. Up by eight entering the last quarter, the Rockets came back to take the lead at one point in the fourth. Boozer scored 10 points in the final frame, giving him 35 for the game to go along with 14 boards and five assists and help the Jazz punch their ticket to the next round.
PLAYOFF heroics are always good a players’ resume. Anytime you have a stat line that only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and DeMarcus Cousins have had in the last 40+ years, that’s going to get you over the line in this argument.
BOTH Lee and Boozer share a pair of All-Star nods and an appearance All-NBA third team throughout their careers. Outside of that Boozer has more collegiate accolades and Lee obviously has that shiny championship ring. Boozer made both of All-Star nods in back-to-back seasons and Lee had three seasons in between his appearances at the All-Star game. I think it’s more impressive that Lee had time between his two All-Star berths, considering he played well in between those appearances. Boozer’s two came in the two best seasons of his career and on each side of them he wasn’t as good. Also, in the Warriors 2014-15 chip, Lee still had a role, playing in 13 of their 21 playoff games including four out of six in the Finals.
Image from si.com
VERDICT – CARLOS BOOZER
ACROSS the board, Boozer has a slight advantage over Lee in most of the categories. Their career averages (Lee: 13.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, Boozer: 16.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists) are relatively similar and some may argue that the former New York Knicks/Warriors All-Star had a higher peak than the Jazz/Bulls frontcourt man. There is a pretty clear winner when comparing the two across the board though and while it’s no landslide victory, Carlos Boozer wins this one.