Prior to last season, it would not have been a stretch of the imagination to consider Carlos Boozer one of the top five power forwards in the NBA. In both the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons, Boozer was one of a select number of guys in the league to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. This production saw Boozer named to the All-Star team in back-to-back seasons, and the combination of Boozer and Deron Williams helped lead the Jazz to the Western Conference finals in 2006/2007. However, Boozer battled injury problems early last season, and was only able to appear in 37 games for Utah.
With a full summer to get fully healed and back in game shape, Boozer is feeling injury free heading into the season.
"I feel great. I'm 100% healthy," Boozer said. "I'm feeling great and looking forward to the upcoming season. My body feels terrific, and I'm ready to get going."
For Boozer, the opportunity to come back at the end of last season and participate in the playoffs helped to build the chemistry that the Jazz have entering this season.
"I had enough of a chance last year. I was able to play 30 games and play in the postseason. The preseason is getting us ready for this season. We have a whole bunch of guys that have been together for a long time, so we know each other really well. We got great chemistry."
The game tonight will mark the second time the Jazz and Trail Blazers have met this preseason. With four more meetings to come during the regular season, familiarity will not be a problem between these teams.
"They (Trail Blazers) are good," Boozer said of Portland. "We played them enough last year to know how good they are. They are very talented, and obviously this preseason we know how good they are as well. But when the regular season gets here, we will be ready for them, I'll tell you that."
With the core of the Western Conference finals team still together, and what appears to be a healthy team entering the season, Boozer has high expectations for this group
"The sky is the limit. I think we have a team, that if we can stay healthy, we can compete for the Conference title."