Chris Bosh's Value to Miami Heat Playoff Run Won't Show Up in Box Score
Playing a team-first role in support of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Bosh's scoring average of 16.7 points is his lowest output since his rookie season. The 6.7 rebounds that Bosh is collecting are also a career low.
Measuring his impact by only these numbers, however, dismisses the value Bosh provides in terms of spacing and balance for the Heat's collective attack offensively.
Despite scoring almost three fewer points than the 19.5 he's averaged for his career, Bosh is still shooting better than ever at 53.2 percent from the field in 2012-13.
He is an All-Star presence capable of scoring out of the pick-and-roll or post-up position, along with being able to create for himself on the perimeter.
But even if he's not actually scoring on a particular play, Bosh is respected around the league for possessing this unique skill set. Heading into the playoffs, he will continue to use that defensive attention to create optimal spacing for James and Wade.
Below are two examples of how Bosh provides this type of value specifically without even touching the basketball.
Bosh creates isolation for James on game-winning drive against Orlando Magic
With 11 seconds remaining against the Orlando Magic—and the Miami Heat trailing by one—Chris Bosh set a ball-screen for LeBron James at the three-point line.
Bosh's defender initially shows help on the James drive at the point of attack. As Bosh rolls to the basket, however, his defender vacates the help-side position to go with Bosh.
Out of respect for his point-blank ability around the basket, the Magic defender never leaves Bosh.
The net result is an isolation play for James that he cashes in to win the game. The following still shots break this example down even further.
The defensive unwillingness to double-team an NBA MVP
If this is Ryan Hollins setting the screen up top, for example, he will be allowed the free roll to the basket.
Unfortunately for the Magic, however, the person setting this screen is shooting a career-best 74.8 percent on field-goal attempts at the rim this season, according to Hoopdata.com.
It's an automatic basket when Bosh catches it that close to the hoop, and defenses are forced to adjust. In this case, they did so by sticking with Bosh on the roll and taking their chances on the James drive.
Bosh creates an incredible amount of spacing for James as defender never leaves him
LeBron has been spectacular from wire to wire. He's improved in every way imaginable after winning his first championship in 2012 and will continue to hit game-winners like this in the postseason.
In saying as much, however, it's also worth noting that James wasn't getting looks like this when he played on the Cleveland Cavaliers with Drew Gooden.
Where interior defenders were once willing to leave their man to help on the James drive—especially with the game on the line—Bosh's presence now forces defenses to think twice before doing the same.
Tyson Chandler stays with Bosh instead of helping on the Dwyane Wade post-up
On this particular play, Dwyane Wade is being guarded by Jason Kidd of the New York Knicks.
The same Jason Kidd who just turned 40 years old in March.
Wade receives the basketball in the post-up position, goes to work on Kidd, and scores points No. 19 and 20 on the night.
The next closest defender to the play was Tyson Chandler—assigned to Bosh on the opposite block—who never stepped over to help.
Chandler knows that if he helps on Wade, an even easier scoring opportunity is created
Tyson Chandler is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. He knows what he's doing in defense of the basket.
On this particular play, Chandler knows that if he steps over to help his teammate defend Wade, all he'll really do is leave Chris Bosh wide open on the block.
Wade realizes this too and allows Chandler to make his decision for him. If Chandler steps over, he'll dump it down to Bosh. If he doesn't help, he'll score over Kidd.
But while those two points inevitably went into the box score exclusively under Wade's name, Bosh's presence had everything to do with the opportunity he helped create.
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