A portrait of an artist with a young beard
Drew Gooden — Chicago Bulls Forward
Measurements: 6’10″ – 230 lbs.
Experience: Sixth-year, 27 years old
From: University of Kansas
2007 – 2008 Season Statistics
12.0 points | 44.9% FG | 8.6 rebounds | 1.2 assists | 0.8 blocks | 30.8 minutes
Points: 31 (vs. Atlanta)
Rebounds: 16 (2x)
Defensive Rebounds: 13 (@ Phoenix)
Offensive Rebounds: 8 (2x)
Assists: 5 (2x)
Blocks: 4 (vs. New Jersey)
Steals: 5 (@ Toronto)
What This Year Proved
Drew is your consummate hustle player. He can crash the boards and set picks with the best of them. But on a team where every front-court player is a “hustle player,” Drew had to bring his game.
And he did, for the most part. In the 51 games before getting traded to the Chicago Bulls, Drew tallied averages of 11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.6 blocks.
In 18 games with the Bulls, Drew averaged 14.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 blocks. He did a solid job for Chicago. In Chicago, he improved his per game shot-blocking drastically, nearly doubling his 0.7 career block average.
His sudden defensive prowess can be attributed to his new role as one of Chicago’s primary big men. The pressure defense employed last year helped funnel drives to either him or Joakim Noah. Drew proved that he can be an adequate, if not exemplary, anchor for a thinning Bulls defense.
“Man, I got jealous of the ducktail. The ducktail started getting more attention than me, so that’s why I cut it off.” — on cutting his old rat-tail
We know Drew can run the floor and finish. We know he can hustle and board. But as the Bulls are currently constructed, he’ll need to do more than that.
When he establishes position, he has a high-percentage baby hook that he hits over most defenses. Drew gets into trouble when he starts acting like Arvydas Sabonis. The Big 90 convinces himself that he can hit fadeaway J’s a la Sabonis but they’re bad, off-balance shots and he’s no Paul Hamm.
Drew needs to use his muscle and width to get as many easy inside buckets as he can. Alternatively, he has some speed and enough determination to beat his man down the floor. Easy buckets can come his way by looking for an outlet or a quick entry pass in the early offense.
Because the Bulls haven’t addressed their big man deficiency, Drew Gooden will need to assert himself past his comfort zone. He doesn’t have second or third option skills but being the most polished big forces him into the equation.
Season Grade: B
Fourteen and 10 is nothing to sneeze at. Drew performed as well as he’s ever performed in his career. Although his efforts didn’t translate into more wins, it’s greatly appreciated. Keep on keepin’ on, especially with that gnarly beard.
Photo credit: Slam Dunk Central