Friday, March 4, 2011

Defending The Defenseless: Comparing Chris Bosh to Richard Jefferson

Defending Chris Bosh is about the least popular thing an NBA fan can write about right now, but I'm going to do it anyway. I feel bad for Chris Bosh. Not too bad, he's making $14 million this year, lives in South Beach and plays for a team that despite it's faults will probably make it to the Eastern Conference Finals and has an outside shot of winning the NBA title (or if you listen to John Hollinger at, the Heatles have a the second best chance in the league behind the Spurs of winning the title). Still, the guy is the butt of a lot of jokes and has been incredibly inconsistent this season (though I suspect the jokes would continue even if he were doing 20 and 10 every night). But we shouldn't act like it's all his fault. He's been asked to do different things in a completely different system then in year's past. Side note: This is the exact opposite of what Amar'e Stoudamire is doing. He's playing in the exact same system as he was in Phoenix, doing the exact same things and with the exception of having a jump shot hasn't developed as a player since he's been in the league.

Admittedly I've always liked Bosh and thought he had a little David Robinson in him because he's a lefty and can hit an 18 foot jumper as well as any big man not named Dirk. I wrote in November that I thought Bosh's situation was similar to Richard Jefferson's 2009-2010 season. Here's a guy coming from a situation where he was the number one guy on a mediocre team for several years. Now he's being asked to do things that don't sound like a big deal (go after rebounds, loose balls and be a primary low post defender) the only problem he was never asked to do any of those.  Offensively, not only has he had to go from being the number 1 guy to the number 3 guy (by the way, I think even his staunchest supporters can all agree he severely miscast as a number 1 guy) but Erik Spoelstra has also changed Bosh's offensive game on the fly. ESPN's Tom Habersoth wrote a fantastic piece on how advanced stats convinced to move Bosh to a different spot on the court from what he was comfortable to in Toronto.

Jefferson similarly was in situations at the end of his run with the Nyets and then the Bucks where defense and rebounding were less of a priority and he was asked to become the team's primary scoring option. I think we can all agree year 1 of the Richard Jefferson experiment wasn't great but year 2 got off to a great start and even though he's struggled recently, I think Jefferson's role is so much better defined and nothing feels forced. I feel like no matter what happens with the Heat this year, Bosh's role will be so much better defined and a year in Coach Spo's system will do wonders for a guy who is
clearly incredibly talented and when used properly is the most dangerous 3rd option in the league right now.

The "Like a Bosh" jokes are funny, some really funny actually, and let's face it, these guys chose to team up in Miami, so Bosh brought this spotlight on himself to a certain extent, but let's top acting like he isn't good. He's still a top 5 power forward (Pau, Duncan, Blake Mamba, Dirk, Bosh?) and if he were your favorite team's 3rd scoring option you probably wouldn't do too much complaining. Remember we had this chat next when the Heat when their first of 3 or 4 titles in a row with Bosh consistently averaging between 18 and 20 points per game and getting 10 boards a game again. It's just a matter of how much he's willing to be coached. That last part sound familiar Spurs fans?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been a big fan of yours, but this post is garbage. You should be ashamed of yourself.

-Sid in Seattle