(WSCR) Year one of the Carlos Boozer era in Chicago was, simply put, a disappointment.

Before the start of the 2010-11 season, the Bulls signed Boozer to a 5-year, $80 million contract. In his first season with the Bulls, Boozer appeared older, slower and lazier than he ever did when he played in Utah.

With the lockout ending, the Bulls resume play Dec. 25 in Los Angeles and if they want to ultimately bring Chicago its seventh title, they’ll need Boozer to be who he was before he signed with the Bulls.

“Any professional athlete has a lot of pride, and he had to be stung by some of the things he heard and read last season,” Comcast Sportsnet’s Mark Schanowski told The McNeil and Spiegel Show. “I think he wants to come back and prove that he can be a top-level NBA player. He certainly wasn’t that last year. Some of his teammates were unhappy about his unwillingness to play defense. I think he realized that if this team is going to have a chance to win a championship, he’s going to have to be the Carlos Boozer we saw in Utah.”

LISTEN: Mark Schanowski on The McNeil and Spiegel Show

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After the Bulls lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, critics attacked Boozer for his lazy play on defense — something Schanowski thinks Boozer will fix this year.

“There was criticism coming at him from all angles,” Schanowski said. “I think the thing that hurts the most is when you hear the whispers in your own locker room that this guy isn’t holding his end and he’s not doing what he needs to do. When you have a team that’s built on defense first, when you’ve got a team-defense concept that requires everyone to make the correct rotations, and one guy stands out who is not doing it, that’s going to cause problems in the locker room.”

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