There's a general consensus that Chris Bosh's usage will decline, and efficiency will incline now that he has to share the rock with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. But I haven't yet seen anyone try to estimate what Bosh's production will be. Without more concrete projections, it's tough to know whether or not you should take Bosh over Amar'e Stoudemire, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, and other bigs in the league. In this post I try to pin down Bosh's production for the upcoming season.
I use Kevin Garnett's transition from Minnesota to Boston as a counterfactual for Bosh's production. Like Bosh, KG also joined two other 20-point per game scorers in Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in 2007-08. Examining KG should give us a much better sense of what to expect from Bosh next season.
KG's statistical decline is somewhat misunderstood. KG's lower statistical output in his initial season with Boston had more to do with fewer minutes played than anything else. Accounting for minutes, KG's production in Boston looks almost identical to his previous 2006-07 season in Minnesota.
The only significant differences are a rise in efficiency (from 48 to 54 percent from the field) and less minutes, from 39.4 to 32.8 minutes per game. Interestingly, it was Pierce and Allen who had to sacrifice the most, with Allen taking five and Pierce four fewer field goal attempts per 36 minutes. As Boston's only post presence, KG did not see his attempts per minute fall at all. On the whole, based on Celtics' Big Three experience, we shouldn't expect Bosh to be less productive on a per minute basis in Miami.
What About Bosh's Minutes?
Of course, if Bosh's minutes decline as KG's did, his production will also fall. In Boston, it isn't entirely clear why KG's minutes were scaled back to such a degree (nearly seven minutes per game). There were probably multiple factors at play; for instance, Boston crushing teams that season and concerns over KG's health.
This makes it difficult to know which way Bosh's minutes will go, but for the sake of comparison, let's assume that Bosh also plays 32.8 minutes per game (same as KG in 2007-08) as a lower bound. If we also assume Bosh's per minute production stays constant, as KG's did in '08, we can forecast Bosh's statistics for the upcoming season.
Bosh's numbers project to dip only slightly relative to his Toronto production despite the hypothetical decline in minutes. Part of this is due to the fact that dropping to 32.8 minutes per game is a smaller decrease for Bosh than it was for KG in percentage terms. Either way, we should still expect Bosh to be a solid 20/10 big with 1 blk and superb percentages. Any improvement in efficiency is icing on the cake for a guy who shot 51.8 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line last season.
Do not overreact. Fears of Bosh's imminent decline are largely overstated. In Matt Buser's Yahoo Big Board, Chris Bosh is ranked behind Al Jefferson even though Big Al is coming off of injury, isn't much better defensively, and shoots a paltry 68 percent from the line.
While there is some concern that Miami might rest the Big Three late in the season right in the middle of your playoff run—on the whole, there aren't too many big men (maybe Amar'e, BLopez, and Dwight Howard) that I would take in a keeper league over Bosh—and that's even after accounting for his move to Miami.