Miami Heat: Chris Bosh Has Given the Team Confidence Since Dwyane Wade's Injury

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Miami Heat: Chris Bosh Has Given the Team Confidence Since Dwyane Wade's Injury
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Just how valuable is Chris Bosh to Miami?

Although he stands at 6'11" and weighs in at more than 230 lbs, Chris Bosh is undoubtedly the smallest member of the Miami Heat's power trio.

Bosh is one of the game's premier big men, but he has always been regarded as the "other" star of the Big Three. His status around the league pales in comparison to his superstar teammates, as he trails LeBron James in MVPs (2) and Dwyane Wade in championship rings (1).

Perhaps people overlook the fact that Chris is the best third option in the league, for he has endured a myriad of criticism and is often the focal point of trade speculation involving the Heat.

Facing a great deal of negative feedback is never good for a player's confidence, but I feel that Bosh has responded well and he is currently in the process of silencing his critics. Whilst many players began the year out of shape, Bosh spent the extended offseason bulking up, and the six-time All-Star has returned to the league as a better player and a humbled man.

His stellar play this year, particularly in the absence of Dwyane Wade, is a big reason why Miami are currently sitting second in the Eastern Conference with an impressive 13-5 record. And while Wade's health is small cause for concern, Bosh's level of production should give the Miami Heat and their fans confidence going forward.

Wade's absence is due to an ankle injury that has caused him to miss a total of nine games this year. Interestingly, Miami is 8-1 without Wade in the starting lineup. In the nine games that he has played, the Heat are a mediocre 5-4. How is it possible that the Heat are faring better without Wade? I accredit the difference to Chris Bosh and LeBron James, who have both stepped up their level of play while Wade watches from the sidelines.

I gathered these statistics from http://www.basketball-reference.com/:

Bosh with Wade in the Lineup:

17.7 PPG, 49.6 FG%, 8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1 BPG

Bosh without Wade in the Lineup:

25.7 PPG, 59.1 FG%, 7.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG

As you can see, Bosh is significantly more efficient scoring the ball when Dwyane Wade does not play. This is a great sign for Miami, because it shows that he is willing to step up and is capable of playing a versatile role within the offense. In the one game that both LeBron and Wade did not play, Bosh recorded his best performance of the season, proving that he can carry the offensive load. In a road game against the Atlanta Hawks, he scored 33 points, pulled down 14 boards and passed for five assists in the 116-109 victory. The game went to triple overtime, with Bosh hitting several big shots down the stretch.

Contrary to popular belief, Miami's 8-1 record without Dwyane Wade does not prove that they are a better team when he sits. It does, however, prove that Chris Bosh needs an expanded role on the offensive end. It's clear that they play their best when the Big Three are firing on all cylinders—and right now, Bosh has given the Miami faithful something to feel good about.

This season the Heat are 11-1 when Bosh shoots over 50 percent from the floor. This is a clear indication that he, not Wade or LeBron, holds the key. When he plays well, Miami usually come out on top. And if No. 1 plays his best deep into the playoffs, opposing teams should be fearful.

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