Head to Head: Chris Bosh vs. Dirk Nowitzki

Naim KalajiContributor IIJune 27, 2010

Today's head to head match-up features two free-agents in the upcoming 2010 NBA free agency. These two superstars who play for Toronto and Dallas respectively are two of the best power-forwards in the game today. It's Toronto's Chris Bosh vs Mavericks' legend Dirk Nowitzki.

A long time ago, this would never have been a match-up. Only 4-5 years ago, Dirk would have dominated Bosh in every aspect. Now? Bosh has quickly climbed the ladder, becoming a dominant power-forward, and one that is currently valued more highly than Nowitzki.

Listed below are the seven components I'll use in order to critically compare the two players. The winner of the most categories (four or more) will be deemed the better player.

  • 1. Scoring
  • 2. Mid-range shooting, three-point shooting, and post play
  • 3. Rebounding
  • 4. Defense
  • 5. Strength
  • 6. Speed and agility
  • 7. Clutch


Chris Bosh is a high-scoring power forward. He's as good as they come in that department. He can shoot the ball anywhere on the court efficiently up to about 20 feet. Despite being a big man, Bosh is more of a face-up player, where he can hit the jumper, or use his speed to destroy a defender. Nevertheless, Bosh has a frustrating tendency to force up jump shots when he should be driving to the hoop.

For the regular season, Bosh averaged exactly 24 PPG. He's continued to improve on past seasons in terms of scoring, so he can only get better. Bosh could attempt to get a better post-game, in order to get a few more points.

Dirk Nowitzki has and will always be a big-time scoring machine. Dirk gets the majority of his points from mid-range jump shots or three-pointers. Despite having the size and length to cause problems, Dirk resorts to throwing up the most difficult fade-away jumpers and off balance shots. Yet, he makes them with ease.

For the regular season, Nowitzki averaged 25 PPG, one more than Bosh. With Dirk, you can count on consistent high-scoring; and while Bosh is gaining in consistency, there are times when he can be ineffective.

Winner: Dirk Nowitzki

Mid-range shooting, three-point shooting and post play

Bosh is a very versatile player when it comes to scoring. He's improved in the post, but still has work to do in that aspect. He's a great mid-range shooter, and a fairly decent, although not very potent, shooter from beyond the arc.

Bosh shot an impressive 52 percent from the field, but only 36 percent from three-point range. Bosh started the season making his first six three-pointers. He ended the season 8-22 from distance.

Nowitzki can play face-up or back-to-basket. He's more inclined to play face-up, where he can use his length and quick release to punish defenders. Due to the number of jump shots he takes, Nowitzki finds himself shooting at 48 percent from the field. Considering he plays almost as a shooting-guard (which he was during the 2010 All-Star game), that FG perentage is very impressive.

Nowitzki is a deadly three-point shooter, able to spread the floor and stretch out defenses. He was 42 percent from the great beyond.

Winner: Dirk Nowitzki


Bosh has always been a great rebounder. This season, he averaged 10.8 RPG, therefore finishing the season as a 20-10 guy for the second season running.

Bosh picked up a shade under eight defensive rebounds a game. Furthermore, Bosh used his added bulk that he gained prior to last season in order to battle with the best on the boards, collecting almost three offensive rebounds a game. In fact, Bosh averaged the most combined points and rebounds in the league.

Nowitzki on the other hand has never been a huge contributor to rebounding, averaging just 8.5 RPG for his career. Getting older hasn't helped, as he only picked up 7.7 RPG this past season,

His poor 7.7 RPG is even less than Bosh's total defensive rebounding statistic (7.9). Dirk seldom attacks the basket, where a lot of that is to do with the fact that he plays further away from the basket than most power-forwards.

Winner: Chris Bosh


If Chris Bosh was to ever win a category called 'defense' you would surely think there was a problem. Bosh is the leader of one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. Bosh himself however has improved defensively, although it's nothing to shout about quite yet.

He has decent lateral quickness, but is sometimes beaten to the hoop too easily. He has long arms which are useful for shot blocking, but he somewhat underachieved in that aspect last season, averaging only 1 BPG, and an even lower 0.6 SPG. Chris is rarely in foul trouble, averaging just 2.4 FPG.

However Bosh is in defending, Nowitzki is worse. It might be the 'Euro' disease that Nowitzki suffers from, where it appears as if European players in the NBA just can't defend or hustle for one reason or another.

Nowitzki is a slow player, and is often exposed for that reason. He averaged 1 BPG, and 0.9 SPG, which from that standpoint, is superior to Bosh's overall blocks and steals number. However, although he picks up only 2.6 FPG, it isn't evenly distributed. Some games, he's Mr. Perfect. Other games, he finds himself easy frustrated and drowned in foul trouble, largely due to his defensive deficiencies.

Winner: Chris Bosh


Chris Bosh added 20 lbs in the past season so that he wouldn't be abused in the post by the bigger and stronger big men in the league. Now weighing 250 lbs, it has made some difference.

Bosh has not only improved defensively, but he's used that added strength to greater effect on the offensive end. Bosh's post-game needs polishing, but it has augmented. A combination of the ability to back players down and use his length to finish has become a substantial part of his game.

In addition, Bosh has used his strength to improve his rebounding.

Nowitzki is a solid figure to say the least. However, he uses little of that strength in his game. As mentioned earlier, he plays as a very big shooting-guard. He could easily use that strength for more points in the paint, although he is still a good post-player.

Furthermore, Nowitzki's play far from the basket means that he can't battle for rebounds. He's too much of a finesse player to be regarded as a powerful specimen.

Winner: Chris Bosh

Speed and agility

Chris Bosh is one of the quickest big men you will find currently in the NBA. As a face-up player, Bosh is able to use his speed and cleverness to drive past defenders. If the result isn't an easy lay-up or two-handed flush, expect him to be heading to the line for two free-throw attempts. Bosh's speed is a big reason why he's fouled so often.

Although Bosh doesn't play stellar defense, some existence of lateral quickness allows him to defend some smaller and quicker players better than other big men can. Bosh can also run the floor with the best of big men, giving his team another option on the break.

Nowitzki isn't a player that you'll find leading a fast-break opportunity. He's a very slow player, and that's highlighted in his play. Instead of trying to speed past his opponents, Nowitzki relies on clever moves, a series of fakes, and a deadly fade-away jumper to trouble his defenders.

Adding a year to Nowitzki doesn't help in the slightest, so it is unlikely that he can work on becoming a quick player. As important as speed may be in the NBA, Nowitzki has adapted his game to an extent that he doesn't require it as much as others.

Winner: Chris Bosh


If Bosh wants to be the centrepiece of a team, and not an addition, he has to improve in this area. Bosh hit two game winners this season, against Atlanta and Philadelphia. However, as many people point out, he's only a second option. He's a great back-up to the likes of LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.

The fact that the ball isn't even always in his hands in late-game situations for Toronto strengthens the argument that Bosh doesn't quite have the assassin-like instinct.

Dirk Nowitzki is as clutch as they come. He's hit a ton of game winners in his career. Dirk has hit 12 shots that have turned out to be game-winners, when there is 24 seconds or less on the shot clock. He was born to perform on the biggest stage.

Even in a stacked Dallas Mavericks' team, the ball will only fall in the hands of one person when time is running out: Dirk. Just for good measure, Nowitzki has hit a game winner against Toronto in the 2005-2006 season.

Winner: Dirk Nowitzki


Chris Bosh 4-3 Dirk Nowitzki

Chris Bosh has been on the up since he first entered the NBA in 2003. He is slowly developing into the best current power-forward in the game. If he wants to be considered an elite player, he must work on his defense, and his ability to knock down the big shots.

When you lead your team to just two play-off berths in seven years, you're argument for wanting to be the best is pretty futile.

That isn't to detract from what Bosh really is. He is phenomenally equipped with the skills to be one of the best; and based on last season, he may be the best power-forward in the game at the moment.

Dirk Nowitzki is a potential future Hall-of-Famer. The man will never be forgotten in Dallas. He's won the MVP award once, and he was no-doubt the best big man in the league at one stage.

Dirk still has deficiencies in his game like Bosh, but he can hit the big shots and is still a slightly greater offensive threat.

However, these head to head match-ups are based on performances in this past season. Nowitzki may have made the playoffs with his Mavericks' team, but this is a team game. We all know Dallas are better than the Raptors, but I know that at this moment in time, Bosh is better than Dirk.