No one would do something as stupid as equating Chris Bosh to either Magic Johnson or Larry Bird in any sense, right? I mean two are among the ten best players ever… and one is Chris Bosh.
Oh. Michael Jordan did? Comparing Miami’s big three and the midsummer circus NBA fans witnessed to a Jordan-Bird-Magic unholy triumvirate? Well the guy did take Kwame Brown first overall.
This moment of old timer-y cantankerousness was just that, but it highlighted the assumption that Bosh was amongst the current pantheon of top players. That supposition was then shouted into the echo chamber of the Blogosphere and Mainstream Media to be amplified until this whole big three thing seemed like a combination of semi-equal players.
But it’s not.
Bosh is not that good.
He’s much better at basketball than the average person. Much better than the average NBA player (not really a logical term, but screw it). But he’s not at that top level and there seems to be a misguided sense that he belongs there.
In fact he may have earned a place as the NBA’s most overrated player, not an easy task in a league where Vince Carter is making $17,300,000.
What exactly has this guy done?
His individual game is relatively devoid of excellent defense or passing. His rebounding numbers (pretty good) are a result of being as quick since he’s on a team without anyone else to take the boards away from him.
As a scorer he’s mostly a face-up guy which is great if you combine it with the aforementioned skills like defense or passing. Superstars do many things at a high level. Chris Bosh doesn’t.
Looking at his career records it gets even more confusing why anyone could put this guy on such a pedestal (other than the “three of the NBA’s top young players uniting” narrative being an easy out).
The whole “power forward on a crappy team” path is a well-trodden. Charles Barkley did it, Kevin Garnett (who Bosh is often compared to) did it and, most recently, Pau Gasol escaped the shackles of a terrible squad to find a second life.
Bosh lacks the unstoppable-force aura of a Barkley (who dragged some fairly ugly Sixers teams to the postseason). He doesn’t have a track record of even getting to the playoffs life Garnett did, plus KG was, oh just one of the best defenders in existence.
The most apt comparison would be Pau, who made the playoffs three times in his first six seasons. Like Bosh he liked facing up and wasn’t working with a brilliant cast. Shane Battier was the second best player on two of those teams, possibly James Posey on the third. From that he drew 50, 45 and 49 wins in the West, all foreshadowing how good he could be on a real team.
Bosh has teamed with a first overall pick (the admittedly not stellar Andrea Bargnani) and some nice role players (Anthony Parker, T.J. Ford, Jose Calderon, Jamario Moon, Jarrett Jack). He had a dead-eye shooter in Jason Kapono and some washed up, once-talented refuse like Hedo Turkoglu, Jermaine O’Neal and Shawn Marion.
That’s not great, but enough for a top NBA player to do something, anything with (because even though “teams win games” one guy can totally pull one up to mediocrity in basketball).
Instead the Raptors have been 254-320 in the seven year Bosh Era. They’ve made the playoffs twice and only three times met the 40-win mark.
Even this terrible resume would be understandable for a western team. But it’s in an Eastern Conference that is notoriously weak at the bottom of the playoff bracket. Sixteen Eastern teams have made the playoffs in those seven years with a .500 record or worse.
A squad led by a bona fide top-level player can only make it twice? Wade and James are proof positive that’s crap.
Even a stat like PER, which is not particularly useful but would favor him since it can’t highlight his defensive failings, only has him in the top-10 twice in seven years.
He’s also in some way responsible for this, a crime so heinous he should be forced to play in some Siberian city in the Russian league (basketball truly is a global game).
Bosh should be seen for what he is, a good second banana or, in his current spot, a possibly great third guy on a potential title team. He could have been a lower-tier Pippin or McHale. Now he can settle for being, should the Heat actually get a title, around the level of late-80s Kareem or Robert Parish.
Not much love for a “great” player, but it’s where he belongs.