It seems most people not residing in South Florida have legitimate reasons to dislike the Miami Heat’s version of the Big Three, but the bane of my basketball viewing existence is the diminished play of Chris Bosh. Only last year, basketball savants were trying to theorize how the Toronto Raptors could build a team around their franchise star: Chris Bosh.
Throughout the playoffs and the regular season, it’s hard to believe that Bosh was once considered one of the NBA’s elite players. Yes, he went for 30 points versus the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which the Heat lost 103-82, but this is the same Big Three member who has disappeared into the NBA’s version of Area 11 for stretches of the playoffs and regular season.
It has quickly become apparent that Chris Bosh is a Not Ready for Prime Time Player. Anyone can look like a franchise player north of the border, in the only NBA city that has a Tim Horton’s on every other corner, but Chris Bosh is being exposed with the Heat.
Would any NBA team want to stake its future on the skills of Chris Bosh and build a team around his talents?
Before anyone wants to state that Chris Bosh was signed to be the greatest #3 in NBA history – and that he was brought to Miami to support LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and not be a franchise player – Chris Bosh was ranked fourth in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) for the 2009-10 season. Fourth! Bosh was once an elite player, who now has more games where he appears to be Stacey King, and not the greatest #3 in the history of the hoops-hype galaxy. (In the final 2010-11 PER rankings, Bosh slid to 33rd.)
Everyone should agree that Bosh’s 2010-11 numbers were going to decline playing with LeBron and D Wade, but in his eight-year NBA career, his 2,795 Minutes Played for 2009-10 are the third-highest of his career. A knowledgeable basketball fan would think some of Bosh’s numbers would remain relatively constant or only decrease slightly.
Bosh’s 2010-11 FG% of .496 was a drop from his career-high of .518 in 2009-10. Logic would seem to argue that Bosh would get easier shots playing with his two big amigos, which would increase his FG%, but that was not the case.
For the 2009-10 season, Bosh averaged nearly three offensive rebounds per game. But with the Heat, Bosh averaged slightly less than two offensive rebounds per game.
Miami’s Big Three Heat is to what degree a better team than the 2009-10 Toronto Raptors? The Heat shoot the ball better, attract better looking groupies, probably enjoy a better postgame spread, but Bosh collected 64 fewer offensive rebounds with Miami. With the Heat, Bosh obviously touches the ball less and has less opportunities to follow his misses for offensive rebounds, but isn’t Bosh’s role on the Heat to rebound?
With the Heat and Bulls splitting the initial two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, it has become abundantly clear that the Heat are getting the bejesus knocked out of them on the boards. Bosh has to be able to battle Boozer, Noah, Gibson and Asik. In Wednesday night’s Game 2 Heat win, Bosh had nine rebounds in over 42 minutes of action. To put that in its proper context, the Heat’s Mike Miller was able to grab eight rebounds and was on the court for approximately 18 minutes.
Bosh’s 2010-11 regular season rebounding total was the third-lowest of his career. How the hell is that possible? The Heat are considered one of the NBA’s premier defensive juggernauts, and shouldn’t Miami’s defensive efficiency present more rebounding opportunities for Bosh?
With Bosh being a distant third option in the Heat’s half court offense, Bosh should be pounding the offensive glass. Yes, the Heat spread the floor to open the paint for D Wade and LeBron’s rumbles down the lane, but Bosh should be more of a threat on the offensive glass.
The decline in his defensive rebounding numbers is hard to defend, and point to a lack of intangibles on the part of Bosh. Intangibles equal heart, moxie, balls, no South Beach celebrity bullshit, lunch pail in hand, go to the glass and rip down some Dennis Rodman rebounds.
Is this a departure for Bosh, who was the focal point of Toronto’s offense, and granted immunity from the dirty parts of the game? Absolutely, Bosh had to know that his Pat Riley/Dwayne Wade/Deal with the Devil was no longer to be the focal point of the offense, but to become LeBron and D Wade’s bitch. Bosh had a huge smile on his face for Miami’s Big Three lights and lasers introduction to the fans, but that was long before he gave this quote after the Heat’s first playoff game in Boston, when he delivered a meager six points in Game 3:
“Given all the elements that were out there last night … they were so hyped,” Bosh said. “My emotions got the best of me early on and it kind of dictated what I was doing for the rest of the game.”
“I was not trusting my game,” Bosh said. “The toughest thing to do in hostile environments is not just to trust your teammates but to trust yourself. Trust things you’ve been doing all your life.”
“There’s a bunch of things I could’ve done better personally to affect the game more and get myself in rhythm,” Bosh said. “Mistakes teach you more than anything else. Last night’s game was a huge teacher.” - ESPN
If Chris Bosh had stayed in Toronto or had decided to play for a small market team, his reputation would have remained virtually intact, but Bosh decided he wanted to pursue basketball immortality via a Faustian path. In the process, we have seen the 27-year-old Bosh struggle against a 35-year-old Kevin Garnett and get his ass kicked when he attempts to offensively isolate the Bulls’ Taj Gibson.
In recent memory, has any one player fallen so precipitously in the opinion of those who watch the game? (Alright, Allen Iverson quickly comes to mind, but let’s run with the Bosh question.)
The Miami media microscope has revealed Bosh to be emotionally tender, insightful, introspective, possibly softer than a basement bean bag chair, limited offensively, his play capable of renaming the Big Three the Big 2.5, and loyal Raptors’ fans probably still want the guy to return to Canada’s higher tax rate.
When the Big Three have completed their run, and likely have amassed multiple NBA titles, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will be recognized as pioneers who unselfishly sublimated their personal goals for NBA championship banners, but Chris Bosh will see his stature in the game’s history questioned unless he is able to redefine the essence of his game. And Chris Bosh may not be suited for that role, which should not be an indictment of his game, but of his decision to also take his talents to South Beach.
Herr Kommissar David Stern wants to implement a hard salary cap of $45 million. Does that mean that Miami’s Big Three will need to offer roster space to the Washington Generals?
Dirk Nowitzki is considered the best big man shooter in NBA history. Let’s talk about naming him possibly the best shooter in NBA history.
The Cleveland Cavaliers snare the 1st and 4th overall pick for the 2010 Draft. The LeBron Curse is still in place, as this is considered a weak draft class, because of David Stern’s intention to lock out the players.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is miffed that the Lakers haven’t erected a statue to commemorate his championship contributions. Pretty sure the Lakers thought Kareem was a virtual statue at the end of his career.
TNT sometimes takes the viewer into the Heat’s locker room; where we hear earnest head coach Erik Spoelstra refer to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals as hand-to-hand combat. Someone may need to explain that concept to Chris Bosh.
With a berth to the NBA Finals on the line, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban still dresses like a teenager cruising the mall.
Proclaimed the Heat’s Game 2 hero versus the Bulls, Udonis Halsem recorded a plus/minus of -11. Haslem scored 13 points and played 23:12. Chris Bosh scored 10 points in 42:18, but registered a +22.
How meaningful is the plus/minus statistic for basketball?