Chris Bosh Must Embrace New Role in Miami Heat Offense

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 29, 2012

Nov. 17, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) reacts on the court during the game against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at US Airways Center. The Heat defeated the Suns 97-88. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

If there was one thing that allowed the 2011-12 Miami Heat team to break through the NBA championship, it was Dwyane Wade handing over the leadership role to LeBron James.

Don't look now, but the Heat have quietly retaken the lead in a deep Eastern Conference. And their improved play could yet again be the result of a Wade demotion.

After seven seasons of being the man in Toronto, Chris Bosh ventured into uncharted waters living life as the other guy in Miami.

He was the Ray Jackson (or Jimmy King) of the famed Fab Five at Michigan in the early 1990s. Or the Jeff Hornacek of the great Utah Jazz teams of the 1990s headlined by Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton.

Sure, he was talented. And part of the reason for Miami's success during their NBA Finals run of 2010-11 or their championship run last season.

But when dinner was served at the Miami Heat household, James and Wade were eating first.

While James is still the unquestioned leader of this franchise (and of the entire basketball world itself, actually), Bosh has staked his claim as the second most important player on this roster.

Here's a look at the new pecking order on Miami's roster.

Online Graphing

Not surprisingly, Bosh is putting together his best season with the team. Truth be told, he may be enjoying a finer season than he's ever put forth in his nine-plus-year career.

His player efficiency rating is the best of his career as is his field-goal percentage (56.0). He's scoring more points now than at any point in his Miami Heat career, and his 1.3 blocks per game are his most since 2006-07.

What makes his numbers so impressive is the fact that he's letting the game come to him. He's not forcing any opportunities, simply converting the ones he's given at a very high rate. He may not be quite at the production level of his Toronto days, but numbers have slipped behind wins in terms of his priorities (as he told's Michael Wallace).

While Wade has battled nagging injuries and fellow starter Shane Battier has recently been bitten himself by the injury bug, the Heat have needed each and every one of Bosh's points, rebounds and blocks. Bosh has helped Miami score the second most points in the NBA (104.8 per game) on an NBA-leading shooting percentage (49.4).

Given the wealth of perimeter shooters at coach Erik Spoelstra's disposal, Miami's offense is expected to see peaks and valleys.

But the steady hand of Bosh has helped keep this Heat team on their perch atop the Eastern Conference.

All statistics used in this article are accurate as of 11/28/2012.