It was a challenging year to say the least, and no one on this team had a harder time with it then Chris. After a summer where he won Olympic gold as a KEY member of the US National team (KEY as in he was crucial to their winning, not a throw in like say…Michael Redd, KEY), and the highly touted pairing with Jermaine O’Neal, the year started on a high.
3-0 out the gates, with what we thought were quality wins over Philly and Golden State, I was looking foolish for predicting this team would be a .500 one at best. Then something began to happen. We noticed that Bosh (along with Calderon and Parker) was being played 40 minutes a night, “that can’t be sustainable” I told myself. O’Neal wasn’t working out, Bargnani sucked needed more time, and the Raptors were closing in on .500. Smitch got the axe, seemed like Bosh lost interest, and the Raptors quickly faded into obscurity.
What we considered Bosh not caring (or losing interest), was just a regular reaction to Smitch getting axed. You know, the guy who was with Bosh since his second season in the league. The guy that was there while Chris went from good to elite. It is only natural that he wasn’t all too happy when his coach for the last 4.5 years got axed. Then Triano comes in and changes everything up, mid-stream, without a real system. The guy just turned 25, excuse him if it took some adjusting.
Q: What was the only constant through the year? Through every win, loss, embarrassment?
A: Chris Bosh.
Just wading through some of his numbers, it is clear he is as productive as BC is overrated:
He finished 6th in the league in rebounding. Many say that it took a heroic effort on the last game of the year (19 boards against the Bulls) to average 10.0 rebounds/game for the season, but had he been rebounding 9.9, would we think any less of him? For much of the season, Bosh has had to contend with defending the paint against penetration, and checking his own man in the block at the same time (Raptors don’t know what a defensive rotation is).
He has had minimal help on the boards, but yet has a Defensive Rebounding Percentage (DRB) of 22%. that means, he grabs 1 (a bit more then 1 actually) out of every 5 defensive rebounds (which means the other 9 players on the court grab the other 4 (a bit less then 4 actually)).
9th in the league in scoring at 22.7pts/gm. Bosh scores from all over the court: 9.2pts from jumpers, 7pts from the post, and 6.5 from the line. Surprisingly, he produces only 2.2pts more from the perimeter then from the post, something many of us (myself included) wouldn’t have thought.
Amazingly, he is the only player in the league who is Top 10 in both rebounding and scoring. In fact, there were only two (Bosh and Howard 20/10 guys (three if you count Duncans 19.3, I do) in the league this season.
Of the Top 30 Power Forwards/Centers, he was third in playing time at 38.02 minutes/game.
The stat geeks over at Wages of Win have figured out that Bosh is responsible for 10.9 wins. Considering the Raptors as a team won 33, Bosh was directly responsible for a third of them.
Seems like he really wants to be here. He is out and about in the community pushing programs and selling gay $100 birthday t-shirts. Doesn’t sound like much, but Toronto has a troubled history of attracting talent, the fact that we have someone who wants to be here, is something we shouldn’t give up on too quickly.
Franchise? Max Player? Elite? All-NBA? Defensive force? Cornerstone? …Pansy? Whatever you label him, we can all agree that he is going to be one of the most highly sought after free agents at the end of next season. Only in Toronto can people be happy about signing Jay Triano to a three year contract as head coach, and vilify Chris Bosh for doing nothing but compete hard and put up 20/10 a game. Only in Toronto can a 25 year all-star (perennial) be labeled not worthy of a max contract, when the same people would rather build an NBA franchise around a one dimensional player, who has only put together half a season of solid ball in 3 years in the league.
What would I do? Whatever it takes to keep him a Raptor. Give him a max contract, and get him the help he needs to win. He may not be the prototypical franchise player, but he is someone you can build a team around. Colangelo believes on building family, and bringing people up internally, that same philosophy should apply to Bosh. It’s time we break our mold and KEEP our stars in the city instead of chasing them out.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Bosh, our gift and curse…
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