NBA: Who's Better, Chris Bosh or Kevin Love?

Charles BennettSenior Analyst ISeptember 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 03:  NBA player Kevin Love and NBA player Chris Bosh  battle it out at the First-Ever Call of Duty XP at the Stages at Playa Vista on September 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Activision)
John Sciulli/Getty Images

This is a serious question, folks, with major ramifications—a spot on the 2012 Olympic team at forward or center could come down to these two guys.

Chris Bosh is definitely the more hyped of the two. He was the primary option in Toronto, played on the 2008 Olympic team, and then took his talents to South Beach last season. A recent article takes it for granted that Bosh will be on the Olympic team and one of the best players at the tournament.  He was an All-Star reserve last season, although he may not have really earned that honor.

In his third season, Kevin Love had a breakout one, winning Most Improved Player honors, making the All-Star team, and leading the league in rebounding.

So who's better?

The answer is Love, at this point in his career.

Looking at points per game, Love had the better season this year, but Bosh has the better career scoring average and the highest season PPG total. Bosh is a better field goal shooter, but Love is a better free-throw and three-point shooter. In terms of rebounding, Love averaged 15 rebounds last season, and 11 rebounds in 2009-10. Bosh has never averaged 11 rebounds at any point. Love also has a career rebound average two boards higher than Bosh, despite being two inches shorter.

In term of sabre-metrics, Love had more win shares in 2010-11 than Bosh, 11.4 to 10.3. This despite playing fewer minutes than Bosh, and playing on a team that had only. You might argue that Bosh's dip in win shares was due to not being the primary option, but no, Bosh has never had more than 10.3 win shares in his career. Love also had slightly better offensive and defensive ratings this season.

In terms of potential unrealized, I'd give that to Love, because he has more seasons ahead of him than Bosh does.

You can't bring up the rings argument, because neither of them has one.  Although I might go so far as to argue that the Heat would have won that ring if they'd have 2010-11 Love instead of 2010-11 Bosh.  Playoff performance isn't much of an issue either, as neither has had much postseason success as the primary option for their team (Bosh's Toronto teams never made it out of the first round and won a total of three playoff games).  So our argument has to be mostly decided on stats. 

Bottom line—Bosh is hype, Love is hustle.