Why The Toronto Raptors Can Succeed Without Chris Bosh
With the departure of Chris Bosh, the Toronto Raptors have lost their best player—but this does not mean they cannot still manage to pull through.
There were many pluses with having a star (not superstar) like Bosh in the lineup, but many negatives as well.
Here are some of the reasons I think the Raptors are just as well without Bosh.
Bosh Is Not a Franchise Player
Plain and simple-Chris Bosh is not a franchise player. For seven years the Raptors have placed the weight of the franchise on a player whom I do not consider to be a franchise player.
Although he has put up stellar numbers (reaching career highs in points and rebounds this season) he was only able to lead the Raptors to the playoffs twice.
Franchise players also have personalities and are able to attract fans to their respective arenas. People travel to see LeBron, Wade, and Kobe. But not Bosh.
It is obviously not Bosh's nor the Raptors' fault for making CB4 the face of the franchise. He has oodles of talent. But he does not have the personality or the self-belief to be a franchise player.
If he thought he could be a franchise player, he would have signed somewhere where he's not the third fiddle to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, where he could lead a team to championships, not be led to championships.
The Offense Won't Be
With Bosh in his final year of his contract, the Raptors brass tried their best to ensure Bosh was pleased and would return to Toronto.
If you watched the Raptors, seemingly almost every time up the floor, Bosh was touching the ball. The system looked to be "get it to Bosh."
This obviously backfired because 1) the Raptors failed to hold onto their playoff spot and 2) Bosh has departed.
But now with Bosh out of the picture, I look for a very disgruntled Hedo Turkoglu to step up and have a flashback of the '08-'09 season. In a recent interview done in Turkey, Turkoglu had just finished a training session (in full Raptors attire) and clarified his earlier comments that showed displeasure with Toronto.
He went on to say that he did not have anything against the players, coaches, or city. Rather, he did not think he fit well with the system they ran last year. With the "Bosh System" gone, I look for Turkoglu to come back with a new confidence and expectations and shine in his role.
In addition to Turkoglu, DeMar DeRozan, and Andrea Bargnani both picked up the slack at the end of the season when CB4 was sidelined with a facial injury. They were both averaging double digit points and Bargnani was close to double digit rebounds as well.
Amir Johnson, who was recently re-signed (though pricy) really stepped into the starting PF role at the end of the season and hopefully he will carry over his strong play.
Although he will most likely not be a starter this season, or log a ton of minutes, Davis looks to be the future of the Raptors front court.
At 6'10", 230 lbs (same height and weight as a certain Chris Bosh) Davis is primarily a defensive big man. But he is very good at what he does.
Expected to be a top-10 pick, he slipped to the Raptors at No. 13 mostly because of his broken wrist that caused him to miss the final three months of the NCAA season.
Coming from a UNC team lead by Roy Williams, he is sure to have had the important values of basketball as well as a good work ethic instilled in him by one of the great coaches in the NCAA.
In 24 games this past season, Davis averaged 13 points (12.9), 9.2 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks. He had a 57.8 fg%.
Though he will not instantly contribute with a major role, Davis will step in as a defensive role player and contribute as much as he can.
The first overall pick in 2006, I remember yelling at the television "NO, NO TAKE ALDRIDGE PLEASE!!" Oh well.
Bargnani started off very slowly, averaging a measly 11 and 10 points in his first two seasons, along with a disgusting 3.2 rebounds in both seasons. But Bargnani has begun his upward trend and we can only hope he is a late bloomer and the trend continues.
In '08-'09, Barney averaged 15 points and 5 rebounds, an improvement from 10 and 3. In '09-'10, Bargnani continued his improvement, averaging 17 points and 6 rebounds.
His play this past season was noticeably more "aggressive and post-oriented" than in most seasons past. He was playing physically (relatively) and more in the post, we can only hope this continues.
With the departure of Bosh, Bargs becomes the Raptors' premier post scoring option and Triano better drill that into his head. If he can use his big 7-foot, 250 lbs frame to play down low, who knows if he goes off and averages 21 and 11.
Bargnani's one flaw has always been his constant floating to the three-point line, and while everyone loves when he drains a big three ball, he was 37 percent from three-point land this season, matching a career low.
The Young Guns - DeRozan, Johnson, and Weems
DeMar DeRozan was drafted ninth overall in 2009 out of USC and while he may never be an all-star shooting guard, he will definitely be an electrifying player.
Averaging only 8.6 points this season, DeRozan was in and out of the starting lineup throughout the season and brought flashes of excitement to games.
He really gained the trust of the coaches when Bosh was sidelined toward the end of the season, and he stepped up his play and average 10 points in March/April, but scored 10-plus points in 13 of the 23 games in March and April.
Side note: He should have won the dunk contest.
Sonny Weems was drafted by the Bulls 39th overall in 2008 out of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
He was quickly traded to the Nuggets, placed in the D-League, then traded to the Bucks shortly after.
He was then traded to the Raptors, in a package with Amir Johnson, prior to the start of the '09-'10 season and both found success on a Raptors team in a state of confusion.
Weems averaged 7.5 points this past season, but like DeRozan, played a bigger role towards the end of the season with the injury to Chris Bosh.
Amir Johnson was drafted 56th overall in 2005 by the Pistons, out of Westchester HS.
He was placed in the D-League shortly after, and remained there until a breakout performance in the D-League earned him a three-year contract. He was then dealt to the Bucks, then to the Raptors with Weems.
Johnson, although only averaging 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds, was noted to be a key contributor to the Raptors when Bosh was injured. He was mostly used as an energy player to gather rebounds and stop opposing big men, but was counted on in important situations towards the latter part of the year.
He was rewarded (justly or not) with a five-year, $34 mil contract on July 1, 2010.