Toss Up: Dirk Nowitzki or Chris Bosh?

Mark BrownCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2009

DALLAS - MAY 11:  Forward Dirk Nowtizki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after scoring to take a two-point lead against the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 11, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. 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.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Bosh are two of the most similar players in the league. Both players prefer to play from the perimeter and low post, as opposed to with their back to the basket. Obviously, the question arises: Which is the better player?

Dirk Nowitzki: 25.9 point per game, 8.4 rebounds pg, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals and blocks pg, 47.9 field goal percentage, 89 free throw  percentage, 35.7 three point percentage, and 37.7 minutes pg.

Chris Bosh: 22.7 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.0 bpg, 48.7 FG percentage, 81.7 FT percentage, 24.5 3P percentage, and 38.0 mpg.

As we can see, Nowitzki is the better scorer and shooter, while Bosh is the better rebounder and shot blocker. Though it's close, I'd have to go with Nowitzki.

Both players have been labeled as soft, because they are not traditional post men. Neither is very athletic, and neither will finish very strong around the rim.

But Nowitzki's offensive game is more complete than Bosh's. He can kill you inside and out, and will hit three pointers if left open. If you press up on him, he is generally able to drive right past you. There are very few defenders who can effectively guard Nowitzki one on one, and even they struggle.

Bosh, too, has some of these characteristics, but not to the extent that Nowtizki does. Teams do not fear Bosh's jump shot as they fear Dirk's, so they can give him some room. If Bosh is able to drive past his defender, teams can foul him, knowing that while he is a good free throw shooter, he is not a great one (as Nowitzki is).

Both players can pick apart double teams, but Nowitzki has developed an unstoppable shot, something Bosh has yet to do. Nowitzki will post up his man, usually around the free throw line, bump him a few times, then fade back with one knee in the air.

If he''s on, there is no stopping him. You have to double team him, or aggressively deny him the ball. Chris Bosh is not to that point yet.

Defensively, Bosh is the better defender, both man to man and help. But as neither is very good, is doesn't really make a difference. Nowitzki's game doesn't lag too far behind here, and it's not enough to make up for the difference in offensive production.

Bosh does get more steals and blocked shots per game, but the difference between the two is minimal. When playing on a team with names such as Jason Kidd, Josh Howard, and now Shawn Marion, it's all the more impressive.

Bosh does have the edge in rebounding. Nowitzki's numbers were down last year, as he usually will grab nine to 10 boards a game. He will not put his nose into crowds as often as Bosh does, preferring to snag some of the easier rebounds.

Leadership is the final quality I'd use to judge the two. Both men are tremendous leaders that have put their respective teams on their back. Nonetheless, Nowitzki is the better leader and better clutch player.

Nowitzki has lead his teams far into the playoffs, and in 2006, he should have won the title. He has been unfairly saddled with the blame of his team's failures the past few years. Of course, much of it must be placed on his shoulders, the Mavericks's losses have been almost exclusively associated with Nowitzki.  

Bosh has done a terrific job leading the Raptors the past few years, but has yet to have taken his team past the first round of the playoffs. He's been dominated by Dwight Howard when they've matched up, and while his team isn't nearly as good as Nowitzki's, it's not terrible, and Toronto should have made the second round at least once.

Both are clutch players, but again, Nowitzki more so. Dallas frequently will give the ball to Dirk with the seconds ticking away, and he often delivers.

Bosh, too, can do this, but often times the offense will run through Jose Calderon when the Raptors need a basket. Bosh has yet to consistently assert himself as the undisputed number one option on his team when the game is on the line.

Though the two are similar players, I'd have to take Nowitzki by a moderate margin. However, Bosh is younger and will undoubtedly improve, meaning he could easily overrtake Nowitzki soon. It'd be interesting to see which player most GM's would take if given that choice. We will soon find out.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know by posting a comment. Thanks for reading.