This past offseason, both Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley decided that they wanted the Miami Heat to play with a small, quick lineup for the 2012-13 NBA season. They believed the NBA is evolving into a league in which speed is more important than size.
One of the key pieces in the Heat's transition was Chris Bosh. Bosh has been dominant at power forward for his entire NBA career; however, with the Heat wanting to go small, LeBron James would be taking over the 4-spot for the Heat. This meant that Bosh would have to play center for the defending world champions.
Moving from power forward to center is no easy task, especially for a guy who is listed generously at 235 pounds. Bosh had a lot of weight lifting to do in the offseason to be able to contain a guy like Dwight Howard, who weighs 30 pounds more than him.
Bosh has had many ups and downs so far this season at the center position. Here is an evaluation of how he has played in each facet of the game thus far.
Chris Bosh has been a force on the offensive end this season. As of Dec. 16, he is averaging 18.1 points per game on an incredible 54.5 percent shooting from the field (a career high).
One aspect of Bosh's offensive game that could improve is his three-point shot selection. He is taking a career high 0.9 three-point attempts per game even though he's only shooting 22.2 percent from long range. The Heat have plenty of three-point shooters, so he needs to cut back on taking those bad shots.
Here is a chart of Chris Bosh's shooting percentages from different distances, courtesy of Hoopdata.com:
As you can see, Bosh seems to be struggling from the three to 15 feet; this is likely due to being guarded by centers who are much bigger than him. He is making up for that lack of success with his incredible shooting from 16-23 feet.
Defense and Rebounding
One of the Heat's main concerns coming into the season was Bosh's defense against bigger, stronger centers. However, he has actually played pretty sound defense so far this season, despite the Heat's struggles in that area.
Although this is from last season, here is a great video showing how well Bosh and the Heat defend the pick-and-roll:
According to 82games.com, Bosh's defensive rating is 105, good for third on the Heat. In addition, he is only allowing his opposition a 16.6 player efficiency rating against him.
One area of the game where Bosh has struggled is rebounding. The Heat knew that this would be an issue because he is attempting to box out guys who are simply much stronger than him.
Although his rebounding numbers are not terrible, 8.1 per game, the Heat need more production out of the center position than what he is giving them.
The Heat are going to need Bosh to play a more physical game or else they will be forced to slide him back to his natural power forward position. The best solution would be for the Heat to trade for a legitimate center.
If the Heat's roster remains the same for the rest of the season, they must work with Bosh to become more physical on the glass. If Bosh proves incapable of doing that, they should just move him back to his natural position.
Bosh has improved greatly as a center on both defense and offense, but he is still struggling rebounding against bigger opponents.