I am a huge Toronto Raptors fan, and like the rest of you out there, I expected more this season. The first few games delivered on every expectation. Even the first month of the season, I could see good things happening.
In previous years, I used to wince every time Chris Bosh decided to park himself up out of the paint for a shot, but the first 10 games led me to believe that I had been wrong. I thought, "They're going in, so let him shoot from anywhere he wants!"
Bosh was a machine.
He has since cooled off a little. But what is it about Bosh that makes him everyone's favorite to cheer for, or dump on?
There is absolutely no question that Bosh is a unique talent. But what are those talents? He is definitely a better than average set shooter. I feel his chief value lies in his ability to drive the key with those spindly legs, and after embellishing any contact, he manages to get so many and-ones.
The more intangible thing to this talent is that rarely are these fouls committed by some schmo off the bench or a careless small forward. Bosh goes at whoever he can to draw fouls. And that is where he makes a difference for the Raps.
When he is aggressive early on, Bosh draws fouls early and often on starting fours and fives bringing in a eighth or ninth man. That in turn forces the other starting Big to help on defense.
Well, you can't leave Andrea Bargnani or Jermaine O'Neal open, and Bosh can eat up most power forwards in the league off the dribble, so the Raptors find themselves being dominant in the second quarter of many games, as is usually the case.
Bosh is also a phenomenal help-defender, with good hands in key. I would design a 2-3 zone where he can constantly switch to the weak-side. He can jump, and he can block, but he doesn't get defensive positioning quick enough be the initial defender. He can provide first class help defense to block shots and make steals in the paint.
Is Bosh the clutch last-minute play guy?
So far, he hasn't proven he is. I think if he learns a quick, believable ball fake, he can and would be.
But who is going to teach him?
The only upside I felt Sam Mitchell had as a coach, was his ability to influence CB4. Current coach Jay Triano doesn't get that same respect from Bosh. Under those circumstances, Bosh will hopefully figure himself out.
Where are we then?
I think we are where we always will be with Bosh. I think he is a cornerstone player, but he needs to know it, know his limitations and play within that knowledge. Attack the hoop, draw fouls, make free throws, and hit the odd 10-17 footer.
This should be a better team, even with certain deficiencies. Come trade deadline or draft day, there may be a lot of interest, with much reward, but Toronto without Bosh would be a major setback.