2012 was the year that LeBron James officially took over the basketball world. He won the 2012 NBA championship with the Miami Heat, an Olympic gold medal with Team USA and both the league and NBA Finals MVP awards.
And he can thank Chris Bosh for the NBA-related affairs.
As dominant a force as LeBron has proven to be, there is a reason that he is virtually always in position to produce. For all of LeBron's individual abilities, there is no way around the fact that he could not lead the Heat on his own.
It is Bosh's ability to step up whenever needed that has created the lanes for James to take over.
With offensive consistency, defensive efficiency and the uncanny ability to make the right play when it matters most, Bosh has been the glue guy for the Miami Heat. For that reason, it is fair to say that he is the key to the Heat's genius.
In other words, there would be no crown to place on King James' head if not for Bosh's balance.
When All Else Fails...
The most important aspect of Chris Bosh's role within the Miami Heat's rotation is that when all else fails, the former Toronto Raptor will step up and lead.
When LeBron had just six points during the first half of the Heat's 113-110 victory over the Houston Rockets, Bosh made 8-of-10 field goals for 18 points. When the second half rolled around, Bosh scored six points down the stretch to secure a victory.
Although these are only two early-season examples, they display the player that Bosh has become. When James and Wade struggle, he will step in and put up points when they're needed most.
When they're on their game, however, Bosh has no problem taking a step back on offense and placing his focus on defending the rim and controlling the glass.
Truth be told, the greatest strength of the Miami Heat offense is nowhere to be found in the Big Three. Their three-point shooting is what will lead this team to a repeat of winning the NBA championship or a shortcoming of their goals.
During the NBA Finals, the Heat averaged 8.5 three-point field goals per game during games they won. With Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis added to the fold, that strength is destined to improve.
Which is yet another reason Bosh has become so much greater of a weapon.
When the Miami offense is flowing to perfection, Bosh has no qualms about focusing on defense. His on-ball pressure has improved significantly since joining the Heat, while his base on the perimeter has enabled him to defend the likes of Kevin Garnett.
A task he was previously unable to handle.
With Bosh controlling the interior on defense, LeBron James can feel comfortable in pushing the pace in the open court. Even in the half court, Bosh has gone from 1.6 offensive rebounds in 2011-12 to 2.6 during the young 2012-13 season.
So how does Bosh do it?
Accepting Less for More
In an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, Chris Bosh explained how difficult the transition from being the focus of a franchise to becoming a high-profile role player has been, saying:
It’s difficult. It’s been difficult, but it’s all for the team and that’s what’s most important. I didn’t quite understand it when I first got here, but I’m starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Things came together for me a lot last year, and I’m just trying to improve in that role. I’m trying to do what the team needs me to do night in and night out to be effective.
There is no logic in the belief that this has been an easy transition for Bosh or any other member of the Big Three. For Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, the entirety of their respective professional, collegiate and high school careers have been spent as the star of their respective teams.
Upon coming to Miami, it took them a full two years to learn the necessary sacrifice to succeed. Although Wade and James' commitment was key, there was nothing more important than Bosh opting to do the same.
When Bosh committed to the opportunistic mindset he now possesses, the Heat finally began to dominate as expected. He no longer took on the star mentality but instead that of a player simply performing his role and awaiting his moment to shine.
When given that chance, Bosh has been nothing short of dominant—which is exactly why he has set the stage for everything LeBron James has done.