Why Chris Bosh's Jump Shot Is Miami Heat's Newest Weapon

Peter Owen@@Peter_Owen1Correspondent IIFebruary 1, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat takes a free throw against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 117-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Chris Bosh. The oft-criticized member of the Miami Heat's vaunted Big Three.

How times have changed.

Last season, Bosh was under fire from all directions as various media outlets attacked his performances in his first season with the Heat. They said he was exposed as being not on the same level as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, that the Heat were really the Big Two-and-a-Half.

Who's criticizing now?

The Heat are now laying into opponents with frightening ease that clearly sets them apart as favorites for the title this year.

What's changed? Quite a lot. The biggest is Erik Spoelstra's new 'pace and space' offense that opens the court more for the highly entertaining and always devastating Heat fast-break.

However, one difference that some fail to notice is that Chris Bosh's jump shot has become a true weapon for Miami, especially in their fast-break and delayed fast-break offensive possessions.

Let's look at the those always-truthful stats.

While Bosh is not taking significantly more jump-shots per game, his shooting percentage on shots from 3-9 feet from the rim is up 6.4 percent, on 10-15 footers (that mid-range game) he is shooting an impressive 10 percent more accurately than last season at 54.8 percent.

Shooting more than 54 percent on the mid-range shot makes him one of the best in the league from that range, so it's little wonder he has not come in for the criticism he felt last year. 

His three-point shooting, although used little this season, has been used more than in previous years. Bosh is shooting on average 1.2 threes per game, a four-fold increase on his 0.3 attempts in 2011.

On these, he's hitting around 0.4 per game which is not the biggest even at his position, but it means he is starting to force defenses to at the very least recognize his abilities from further away from the basket.

I admit, I did beat up on Bosh occasionally during the 2010-11 season, but what non-Heat (and even some Heat) fans didn't? The guy went 1-for-18 against Carlos Boozer. Carlos Boozer. 

However, I did always admire his jump shot. For a big man, he seems able to get pretty good looks and quick ones too from a handful of spots on the court.

This season, though, he has really come on with shooting off the pick-and-roll from the elbow and top of the key areas making the Heat offense even harder to predict.

On the fast break, Bosh is able to trail the play and be hit for the quick jump-shot before the defense has time to get set up.

With his shot falling more regularly, Bosh is being more tightly defended, this has proven to be less of a problem as he has always been able to beat his man with pump-fakes and silky footwork to get closer to the basket.

Now he can act like Carmelo Anthony and step back into a jump-shot as well.

So along with the Miami Heat's well-known threats of LeBron James being able to score just about wherever and whenever he wants, Dwyane Wade being able to go anywhere on the court and score too, the Heat now have the third member of their "Big 3" adding a new facet to their already multi-faceted offense.