Has Playing with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Hurt Chris Bosh?

Sam RichmondCorrespondent IMarch 10, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 03:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat celebrates hitting a fourth quarter shot against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 3, 2013 in New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

In their three years playing together, no member of the Miami Heat's Big Three has taken more of a statistical dive from their pre-super team days than Chris Bosh.

It's such a drop in production that it seems fair to wonder if Bosh's move to Miami has hindered his ability to perform.

Bosh, who in his final season with the Toronto Raptors averaged 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, is down to scoring 16.8 points and 7.0 rebounds this season.

When you look at it from this standpoint, it would appear as if Bosh was a better player in Toronto than Miami.

However, that's not the case. Even though his numbers have dropped, Bosh is a more effective player alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade than he was as a Raptor.

The reason Bosh's scoring has dropped dramatically isn't very difficult to figure out.

On a Heat team with two other elite scorers, Bosh isn't shooting nearly as much as he used to. In 2009-10 with the Raptors, Bosh shot 16.5 times per game compared to 12.4 now.

Bosh's scoring has also dropped due to him not getting to the line as often he used to in Toronto (8.7 FTA per game in 2009-10 and 4.2 FTA in 2012-13). But this isn't a reflection of a declining skill set in Bosh, rather just a change in his offensive role.

In Miami, Bosh is used to spread the floor and beat opponents with his jumper instead of primarily trying to attack down low as he did in Toronto.

While he's not scoring as often, Bosh is thriving in his offensive role in Miami.

Bosh is on pace to post career bests in field-goal percentage and true shooting percentage.

As for specifically his jumper, Bosh is shooting an unreal 54.0 percent from 16-23 feet from the basket, according to Hoopdata. Not only does that represent a career best from that range by seven percent, it's the best in the NBA this season (minimum of 20 makes).

That's not just including centers, either. Bosh has the best mid-range game in the NBA right now.

Take a look at his shot chart for the season, which shows off his mid-range excellence.

It should be noted that a portion of the credit for Bosh's mid-range successes goes to Wade and James. The defensive attention that those two scoring titans command allows Bosh to see many more open looks than he ever had before.

Also, while Bosh isn't shooting nearly as much at the rim as he used to, he's never been more successful down there efficiency-wise, according to Hoopdata. Bosh is converting 75.1 percent of his attempts at the rim this season (league average for centers is 66.8 percent), which is a 11.2 percent greater than his final season as a Raptor.

On the other side of the court, Bosh has improved markedly on the defensive end since joining James and Wade.

Bosh's center counterparts this season have posted a worse effective shooting percentage and player efficiency rating than they did in 2009-10, according to 82games.

In Toronto, Bosh earned the label of being a "one-way player", but that can't be said about him any longer. He's grown tremendously not just in terms of guarding his man, but also in help defense as well.

Take a look at the video below which shows two plays from late in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Bosh stops two scoring opportunities, neither of which are even from his own man.

However, there is one area in which Bosh has been hurt in since joining the Heat. That area is obviously rebounds.

This season Bosh a rebounding rate of just 13, which is far from the 17.7 rate he posted in 2009-10.

Despite the Heat's great need for top-notch rebounding from him, Bosh isn't even the team's top getter on the glass, averaging just 7.0 per contest.

While Bosh's deficiencies on the glass can't be ignored, when looking at his overall game it's clear he's been a fantastic player in Miami.

For what the Heat want Bosh to do on offense, which is to space the floor and hit mid-range jumpers, he's playing his role about as well as anybody could.

On top of that, he's allowing his teammates to score more efficiently (as the threat of his jumper forces defenders to leave the paint, which opens up driving lanes).

Also, the strides he's made defensively have helped the Heat become one of the most feared defensive teams over the past three seasons.

As the No. 3 option on the Heat, Bosh isn't putting a big dent in the stat sheets like he did a few years ago. However, that doesn't mean he's not playing some of the best basketball of his career right now. He most certainly is and in the process has solidified himself as a top-15 NBA player.