8 Stars Who Complement Miami Heat's LeBron James, D-Wade Better Than Chris Bosh
Look, as much as I rag on Chris Bosh and for all his shortcomings as a prototypical power forward, he's a pretty talented player. This piece is not meant to bash him as a player; it will, however, rest heavily on the fact that he hasn't been the ideal fit for the Miami Heat.
This team is more than covered when it comes to mid-range threats, and that happens to be 80 percent of Bosh's game. He's not the most physical player around ("not the most," in this case, meaning "one of the least"), and what he lacks as a power forward just happens to be what Miami lacks as a whole.
This means there are other players who would fit in better with this team and plug more holes, and the question becomes who would make more sense paired with LeWade in exchange for Bosh?
A few ground rules for this list:
• It includes power forwards (Bosh's natural position) and centers (where Udonis Haslem could slide back into the starting four spot).
• Players must be of comparable trade value, give or take some draft picks.
• This list is not meant to comment on the likelihood of any of these theoretical deals actually going down. In fact, it will ignore any factors that preclude them.
First we have the unlikeliest scenario: Utah trading away the centerpiece of its frontcourt for a guy who does fewer things on the court.
Let's assume for a moment, however, that Pat Riley was able to work his Don Juan magic and sway Jazz brass into making this trade.
Millsap is a far more capable rebounder than Bosh and provides a more uniquely post-oriented scoring option. He thrives on intensity plays and seems to always be in the right place to make something positive happen under the boards.
The Heat's gaudy wing rotation can more than handle itself in terms of scoring from mid- to long range, so the Heat could easily stand the loss of Bosh's contribution in this area, especially if it meant adding a guy who does more than pile on more of the same.
Golden State's David Lee is no defensive whiz, but if there's one thing he built his name on, it's mixing it up around the basket offensively. Losing Bosh and adding Lee would constitute a major upgrade in the hustle department, with commensurate scoring and rebounding numbers.
Lee still has his share of hops with which to hook up with LeWade quite frequently on the break or the pick and roll. Lee would bring more than just an extra mid-range/high-post option, and instead make the interior offense (finally) respectable. Now LeBron doesn't have to personally set up everyone but D-Wade around the rim.
I can't explain this with empirical facts, but I also suspect a combination of David Lee and Udonis Haslem would play off each other rather well on the blocks. They're just a pair of guys with a similarly un-pretty attitude towards everything they do on the floor.
Chris Bosh is from Texas...Houston is in Texas...Oh my god, it's perfect! Just throw a couple of Rockets draft picks in there and you've got yourself an intriguing deal.
Granted, Marcus Camby is up there in years and he's no star player anymore, yet he plays an agelessly effective defensive style that takes full advantage of one of the most expansive wingspans in the league. He's active, gobbles up rebounds—more than 18 per 48 minutes—blocks shots and makes a prime secondary defender for guys who manage to beat LeWade—most likely through no small effort—on the drive.
His combination of length and years of defensive experience would make him Miami's post-stopper par excellence, while Miami's offensive dominance would relieve any pressure to put the ball in Camby's hands often enough to expose his advanced age.
OK, how about Camby and Luis Scola for Bosh and James Jones? Riles would probably take it.
Scola—now there's a guy who's not afraid to break a nail around the basket. Scola's game in traffic is about as scraggly as his face on most night, which is exactly what the Heat lack so sorely in a guy as feathery as Bosh. His attitude is the polar opposite of CB's—he loves to be the bull in the china shop. This adds a new dimension to LeBron and Wade's established tendency to throw their own bodies around in the paint.
With Scola on board, Miami would have all the scrappiness of a Joel Anthony with the statistical soundness of a Bosh. At the same time, he's also much lower-maintenance personality, which is a plus for Erik Spoelstra.
I won't lie and say I wouldn't get a deep sense of satisfaction from seeing Bosh shipped off to the bottom-feeding Wizards after scheming to ride someone else's wagon to a title. This, however, has nothing to do with the merits of swapping him for Nene.
The first thing the Heat would get out of Nene is a wide body to plug the lane, and much more capably than anybody currently on the roster. Nene uses his size to his full advantage for scoring, rebounding and obstructing opposing offenses underneath the basket.
He's a more-than-capable post scorer and he's comfortable in a pick-and-roll system. Furthermore, he makes few mistakes with the ball and finds ways to make his mark even if the buckets don't come, which leaves more touches for LeWade.
Another entertaining scenario—for those of us who took exception to Bosh piggybacking his way to bragging rights—to see Bosh sent to the Suns just as Steve Nash is (presumably) leaving Phoenix and taking all semblance of relevance with him.
The Heat would suffer a perfectly tolerable downgrade at the four, and in return, Gortat would provide just about the best non-All-Star center performance—he was 11th overall in regular season PER—in the NBA.
Gortat's game is decidedly unspectacular and devoid of any star power, but he gets the job done while making little to no waves. His rebounding, defense and shooting percentage last season can all be taken as an index of his value as a top-flight pivot, though his 15 points per game may or may not have been inflated by playing with Steve Nash, who is notorious for making players look like better scorers than they are.
Even if this were the case, Gortat answers a lot more of Miami's unanswered questions than Bosh.
Chris Bosh to New Orleans? It certainly would make a lot of people happy to see him demoted back to the NBA cellar.
Chris Kaman to Miami? Makes sense, too. The Heat are rumored to be interested in Kaman, so this deal is more within the realm of possibility than most others on this list.
Kaman didn't have his finest season last year, but it bears mentioning he was both coming off an injury-shortened season and playing amid heavy doubts as to his role in his new team's future. These factors make a return to form appear likelier than not.
While no slouch defensively, Kaman's claim to fame is his back-to-the-basket skills. He has a go-to scorer's mentality and a soft touch to go with a heavy frame that makes him difficult to push around. Imagine a legit scoring seven-footer alongside Miami's all-galaxy wing duo.
Personally, not being a fan myself, I'd rather not.
Josh Smith's reputation precedes him at this point in his career; he's an athletic, somewhat bruising player, who can play both forward positions while providing a defensive intimidator at or around the rim. He rebounds at roughly the same rate as Bosh, but he gets more done away from the boards.
While Miami is heavy on wing-type players, it doesn't have any high-level fast-break finishers outside of LeWade. Smith would add even more options when this teams decides to run and adds more dimensions to the halfcourt game as well. He plays better defense, scores in different ways and can even set up his teammates on occasion.
Defensively, just imagine this scenario: You're racing to the basket for a layup, and you have LeBron James and Josh Smith chasing you down. Traumatized yet?