How LeBron James Has Made Chris Bosh a Better Player
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One of LeBron James' greatest abilities is his penchant for making teammates better.
Since his days in Cleveland, LeBron has always made defenses collapse off the dribble, or find teammates with well-placed passes for easy baskets. Now that he's in Miami, he still continues to make those around him better, especially veteran big man Chris Bosh.
Out of Miami's "Big Three", Bosh tends to get overlooked the most. While Dwyane Wade and LeBron benefit from the majority of the play-calling and highlight alley-oops, Bosh's game tends to be more about cleaning up misses at the basket or knocking down wide open mid-range looks. In essence, Bosh is primarily a complementary scorer at this stage in his career.
It isn't a slight at Bosh to say he's a complementary piece either; the reality is they don't need him to be the primary option with James and Wade leading the way.
Back in Toronto, Bosh was responsible for filling up the stat sheet in areas like points and rebounds. His highest scoring and rebounding season was 2009-10 (per Basketball-Reference.com) when he was Toronto's primary option, but fast-forward to 2012-13 and Bosh now finds himself as the tertiary option.
Although he isn't scoring as many points or grabbing as many boards, Bosh is actually "better" now because he's shooting at a much more efficient rate.
As Miami's third leading scorer, Bosh also happens to be Miami's second-most efficient scorer behind LeBron with over 53 percent shooting on 12 attempts per game. Bosh's current season field-goal percentage also happens to be the highest shooting percentage of his career, and it's no coincidence it's as high as it is with LeBron on the court.
Bosh shoots 71 percent in the restricted area (directly under the hoop) and over 52 percent from mid-range when LeBron is on the floor (per NBA.com). When James is on the bench, Bosh actually shoots 64 percent and 47 percent from those respective spots, so although they're still efficient numbers, LeBron makes a good, efficient scorer like Bosh into an amazingly efficient scorer.
Interestingly enough, the efficient shooting between the two goes both ways. James also shoots better at the rim (79 percent), from mid-range (43 percent) and in the paint (52 percent) when Bosh is on the floor opposed to when Bosh is sitting, so there's no question that there is solid chemistry between the two when they're on the floor together.
One of the best feelings as a basketball player is having the game come easy, and this is exactly what James does for Bosh. Although he's not getting as many touches as he did in his days as a Toronto Raptor, Bosh has the benefit of getting easy looks whenever James is on the floor.
As a result of LeBron's playmaking, there is less pressure on Bosh to force possessions, and when Bosh does receive passes, his shots are much easier because he doesn't have to create the look for himself.
It's far easier to cut when the defense rotates on James for an easy dunk than it is to face up and maneuver your way to the rim. There's no doubt that Bosh's improved numbers reflect that.
By shooting less and getting easier looks, thanks to the presence of LeBron James, Bosh has refined his game to become a highly efficient mid-range scorer and provide a timely option when the defense collapses.
There's no question that Bosh's offensive game is as efficient as it's ever been, and as long as him and LeBron are on the floor together, Bosh's efficiency and overall effectiveness will continue to improve.
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