Resume: 18.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, 35.2 minutes, 49% FG, and 82% FT… Team record in games played: 42-15 (4-5 without)… Playoffs: 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.0 block, 49% FG (career best), 83% FT, 11-3 record (5-4 without)… All-Star
Together we’ve marched through 30 players and finally are now cracking into the top 20, starting with Miami Heat power forward (wait, he might be a center) Chris Bosh. It doesn’t matter what position you classify Chris Bosh as, as long as you recognize that the pecking order of important players for the Miami Heat looks something like this:
1. LeBron James
2. LeBron James one more time
3a. Dwyane Wade
3b. Chris Bosh
5. Everyone else on the team
15. Eddy Curry
Alright, maybe I’m giving LeBron a tad too much credit, but the point I’m trying to make here is that you can’t mitigate the impact that Chris Bosh has on Miami. You can’t look solely at statistics since in the regular season and postseason Wade had the edge of Bosh. Wade scores more points, takes bigger shots, gets more attention and before the Miami trio was formed, had already won a title and Finals MVP. Bosh on the other hand spent 7 years as the alpha dog in Toronto before taking his talents to South Beach and becoming one of the most overqualified third wheels in the NBA.
Even though LeBron has won multiple MVP’s and Wade already won the hardware beforehand, it was always thought that Bosh, the most unproven of the Big Three, would be the scapegoat if anything went seriously wrong in Miami. There were times when Bosh underperformed and seemed unsure of his newfound role in the Heat offense. He endured plenty of “The Heat aren’t the Big Three, they are Two and a Half Men” jokes. Witty, but not necessarily true. Had the Heat again failed to win the title less than four months ago, there is a decent chance that Bosh wouldn’t be wearing a Heat uniform this season.
Would trading Chris Bosh have helped Miami’s cause? I watched a large portion of the Heat’s games the last two years and can honestly say that Dwyane Wade might be more expendable than Chris Bosh. I say that with even more confidence now seeing as how LeBron seemingly exorcised any demons that kept him from closing out big games down the stretch. It’s very simple to see how much Chris Bosh benefits the Heat offense. The key to Miami’s offense is keeping the lane clear for LeBron and Wade to go to work in isolation and attack the rim. That’s why the Heat always seemed to look horrendous over the last two years when Joel Anthony, Ronny Turiaf, Erick Dampier, or Dexter Pittman was in the game because they clog the lane. When the Heat offense goes small they are arguably the most dangerous team in the NBA. Plugging Bosh in as center (a solid outside shooter), allowing LeBron to work as a point-power-forward and surrounding them with an arsenal of even more outside shooters worked incredibly well (Remember, Miami was 14-3 without Dwyane Wade in the regular season). On the flip side, Miami struggled to a 5-4 record without Bosh in the playoffs.
I hope all of this hasn’t come off too much like an attack on Dwyane Wade and me trying to hype up Chris Bosh because he’s my mom’s favorite player in the league. I’m simply stating what I have observed. It’s bugged me that Bosh (and LeBron for that matter too, but that’s another story for another time) have gotten the brunt of the blame for any Miami struggles while Dwyane Wade gets a free pass on all of the negativity. Bosh had to adjust his game the most when coming to Miami. Bosh was the one who’s numbers were going to decline the most. Bosh was always going to be the one scapegoated, but he’ll never receive the proper praise for what he has done for the Heat. Bosh has been the key in making the Heat the versatile, high octane, ridiculously fun to watch offense that was on display so many times this past postseason. I’m just trying to give credit where credit is due… And make sure that my mom keeps making me chicken parmesan when I come home from school.
It’s easy to forget that for years Chris Bosh was exiled on crappy Toronto Raptors teams and putting up All-NBA numbers in the midst of making them relevant. This is why I hate to rely too much on statistics. He was a top 20 player then, and just because his numbers have dipped and his role has diminished doesn’t mean he isn’t a top 20 player now. His value was shown when all of the “experts” were saying that the Heat couldn’t win the title without him. A team that featured LeBron James and Dwyane Wade needed Chris Bosh to win the title. That’s strong enough evidence for me.