This is a question I’ve been asking myself since yesterday’s loss at home to Golden State, which I was lucky enough to attend. Conveniently, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports on Bosh’s inconsistent play of late in yesterday’s paper.
Chatting with a friend over IM, I said something that probably goes beyond the areas of my expertise: has Bosh maxed out his skills? Might this be the best we’re ever going to see the 6’11” power forward?
And so I ponder. My friend replies, “If he can start hitting jumpers more consistently, he will be an animal.” Really? I’m starting to sound confuzzled. I know Bosh can play better right now, as Smith points out in The Star, but can he ever play better than what we’ve called his best?
Let me break it down: 23 years old, playing in his 5th season in the NBA, weighing 230 lbs and standing 6’11” tall. He had a nice rookie year, and an even better sophomore campaign, when the Raptors officially became his team midway through (Vince traded to Jersey), and the following season he broke out, then duplicated season three in season four, only the L’s turned to W’s as the Raps went for 47 wins. Now what?
Chris Bosh is a very talented player, don’t get me wrong. Sure, the people in the front office in 2003 might have taken Dwyane Wade if they had the chance to look three years into the future, but that’s not something I want to gripe about. Besides, D-Wade is going to burn out playing the way he does. What I wonder is if Chris Bosh, aka CB4, is going to turn it up another notch this season, or if he’s due for a dropoff in productivity. He was surrounded by talent last season, and still managed to turn in similar numbers (some better) from his previous season when he played on a bad team (remember Mike James, Toronto?) and got a lot of minutes, shots, etc.
Here’s my real problem: Bosh can’t hang with the very best at his position in the NBA. Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire, Tim Duncan, or Jermaine O’Neal. I don’t feel comfortable watching CB4 go head-to-head with any of those guys. The young man is very good, but he sure isn’t great yet. I think Bosh is more on the level with guys like Pau Gasol and Rasheed Wallace. He has some moves in the post, but they don’t look polished. He has a nice jumper, but it isn’t exactly fantastic. He has a defensive presence, but he isn’t dominant.
Michael Grange put it best in his blog this morning: “Carlos Boozer (25.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 50.6% fg): If the Raptors offered the Jazz Chris Bosh for Carlos Boozer, there is a 0% chance Kevin O’Connor would make the deal. Sad sad sad.” Sad, indeed, Michael.
Is Chris Bosh doomed to be good, not great? Or am I just overreacting to a mediocre start to the season for my hometown team’s franchise player?