Over the past three seasons, Miami Heat center Chris Bosh has entered a state of purgatory. His reputation is that of a superstar, his accolades continue to pile up and the media and coaches of the NBA appear to be paying no mind to a decline in production.
When we get past the gray areas and ignore name value, however, we can't help but ask: Will Bosh ever be a superstar in the NBA again?
Some will jump to Bosh's defense and claim that he remains one of the league's elite. His résumé certainly justifies that proclamation, as he's a former NBA champion, an eight-time All-Star and a former All-NBA selection.
The question is, have we been so caught up with name value that we've forgotten what matters most? You know, actually putting something on the floor?
Let's find out.
Was Bosh Ever a Superstar?
The term "superstar" is often overused, as it's bestowed upon players who are productive but not necessarily elite. No matter how much he may have achieved as an individual, we can't help but ask one important question.
Was Chris Bosh ever a true superstar?
The numbers certainly support his case, as Bosh was selected No. 4 overall and averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in three seasons. With that being said, there's another number that may trump all of the individual feats.
Bosh led the Raptors to just two postseason appearances in seven seasons with the team.
Furthermore, the Raptors finished above .500 just once with Bosh on their roster and lost in the first round of both their postseason appearances. While Bosh is the furthest from the player worthy of the blame, we must use one argument for all.
Again, Toronto's failure was not all Bosh's fault, but would we dare label the best player on a team that routinely finished on the outside of the playoffs as a true superstar?
By comparison, Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford averaged 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in 2012-13. The Hawks made the playoffs this past season, but Horford was left off of the All-Star squad in favor of Bosh.
In terms of what Bosh is doing today, a fair question is why Brook Lopez is viewed in a lesser light.
If our logic for Bosh's time in Toronto remains intact, Horford and Lopez should receive that same praise. Unfortunately, the NBA has a bad case of tunnel vision when it comes to their "stars."
A Meteoric Collapse
Throughout the course of the 2012-13 NBA regular season, Chris Bosh underwent a transformation as he became ineffective both as a rebounder and interior scorer. According to NBA.com, he shot 36 percent in the paint and attempted 54.1 percent of his shots from mid-range and beyond.
To make matters worse, Bosh averaged career-worst totals of 6.8 rebounds per game.
This decline is due, in part, to Bosh's full-time move to center, where he's routinely mismatched down low. While his ability to shoot the ball has been undeniably valuable, Bosh has struggled against true centers.
The Eastern Conference Finals were the nail in the coffin for Bosh's star status at the 5.
Matched up against Indiana Pacers Roy Hibbert (7'2" and 280 pounds) Bosh
(6'11" and 235 pounds) was decimated. He averaged 11 points and 4.3 rebounds in 31.6 minutes per game, while Hibbert had 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds.
Perhaps worst of all, Bosh failed to top 10 points in the final four games of the series. You can talk about reputation all you'd like, but superstars don't let that happen.
Fortunately, Bosh has bounced back during the NBA Finals, averaging 14.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.8 blocks. With all of his defensive efficiency, however, has come further offensive woes.
Bosh has topped 15 points just once in his past eight games.
Achieving Superstar Status
As a member of the Miami Heat, Chris Bosh has developed a new profile amongst NBA fans and has thus seen his lack of production come under fire. Even when he thrives, there are fans waiting around the corner with mountains of questions as to why he did something wrong.
The truth of the matter is, the only way for Bosh to return to superstar status—or achieve it for the first time, depending on how you view it—is to move back to power forward.
Bosh sometimes played center with the Toronto Raptors, but no one was foolish enough to view his playing style as that of a 5. He was routinely matched up with power forwards, thus being able to back his man down and crash the boards with proficiency.
Against a revitalized group of centers in 2012-13, however, Bosh has been at his worst.
There's no question that Bosh is defending at a better level than ever before, and we'd be remiss to ignore his improved jump shot. With that being said, one of the NBA's most dynamic players has suddenly become a one-trick pony offensively.
Until he moves to power forward, that will not change.