Toronto Raptors on the Treadmill to Mediocrity Behind Bosh and Calderon

Robert Seagal-MisovicCorrespondent INovember 23, 2008

Allow me to preface my thoughts by saying that under no circumstances would I ever accept a trade where Bosh was heading out for the players I'm about to compare him to.

However, this is not to say that making that trade would greatly impact the Raptors' overall success. Bosh is younger, and just happens to be the kind of dependable silent leader many teams seek.

His on-court limitations however have hindered his ability to become truly great. The sad thing about Bosh is that while he gives the Raptors nothing on defense, he's capable defensively as he's shown in his rookie season and this past summer. Defense shouldn't just be something to do when you're the fifth option on the court. To be "great", you have to be a two-way player.

Of every player to be mentioned as an MVP candidate, Bosh has to be the most one-way player since Allen Iverson. When the Raptors fans chanted MVP when the Nets visited Toronto on February 14, 2007, Vince Carter's reaction was sarcasm followed by pure disbelief. So was mine.

The Toronto Raptors were so preoccupied with finding a face to replace Vince Carter, that they prematurely turned to a guy they didn't fully understand. They branded him, marketed his face, and built a team around him. After all, how else could they sell tickets? Jalen Rose?

Some have called Chris Bosh a top-five talent in this league today, an MVP candidate to be exact. I say, he's a scorer with solid rebounding skills, who's more of a tweener between small forward and power forward. Unfortunately, he is unable to guard either position well enough to be considered a legitimate superstar.

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In order to clear space to sign one, or perhaps two members of the 2010 free agency class, the New York Knicks traded Zach Randolph away for spare parts. So, I said to myself, "I hope they're not targeting Bosh."  You see, if you take away the 40 plus minutes, and the 20 plus shot attempts, Chris Bosh is a finesse version of Zach Randolph.

Another player who gets a little more love than deserved from the Toronto media, would have to be Jose Calderon. Perhaps the plan to paint him as a saint last season has blinded people to his inabilities on the court.

His defense is awful, and his ability to truly make people better is questionable. Some might argue that he makes Bosh better, but I'm not sure if passing the ball to a player every time down the court on an isolation or pick-and-roll sequence counts. One might say that Calderon passes to Bosh. That's it.

No team can win a championship if its two best players are it's two worst defensive players. It just doesn't work. The media is quick to criticize Jermaine O'Neal for shooting horrid percentages, Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker for their inconsistency, and even Roko Ukic/ Will Solomon for their turnovers, but it's these guys who are keeping this team afloat.

This team can't go anywhere behind the Bosh-Calderon tandem, unless you add three world class defenders around them to mask their issues.

Then you have to deal with another ugly side of their games, which people seem to turn a blind eye to. This is where Bosh inches even closer to Randolph, Antawn Jamison, and guys like Shareef Abdur Rahim. He makes no one but himself better.

You'll often see him diving into triple teams, and rarely will he make a pass out of it. Think about it. You have Bosh being compared at times to Garnett and Duncan, when those guys are clearly miles ahead of him, both defensively and in terms of making their teammates much better.

Once you take those factors out of their games, you're left basically with your traditional stat-stuffer big guys like Randolph and Abdur-Rahim.

There's no doubt that Bosh is a prolific scorer. The fact that he happens to be 6'10 simply makes him a big man by default, but he is your traditional all-star wing scorer in a nut shell. His whole game is face-up, and his entire offensive repertoire involves driving and jump shooting.

At some point you have to consider the possibility that Bosh just isn't the type of player that carries you far in the playoffs. Trading him for a small forward might be the best course of action the Toronto Raptors can take.

Why should Andrea Bargnani have to guard swing-men because Bosh is playing a small forward on the offensive end? If you dealt him for a quality small forward who was adept defensively, offensively, and could create for his team, you'd turn this team into a championship contender overnight.

Three years ago, there was a running debate over Bosh and O'Neal, attempting to find out who was actually better. I said it then, and after numerous knee surgeries and now entering his thirties, it hasn't changed. Jermaine O'Neal is a better player than Chris Bosh if your goal is to win a championship.

I am 100 percent sure that Jermaine is closer to your Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett standard, because he brings a defensive presence to the paint. He lacks the ability to truly make players better, but makes up for that with his defensive skills.

Truly great scorers are all ball-stoppers to some degree. Iverson, McGrady, Redd, Anthony, Joe Johnson, and Antoine Walker in his prime are all examples. They operate as their teams watch.

However, true superstars do at some point turn into distributors. You'll notice that players like LeBron, Paul, Bryant, Wade, Duncan, Garnett and even Vince Carter all give the ball up willingly if the opportunity is there to get other players open wins. That's why these guys play well in the playoffs.

This is why LeBron has been to the finals and McGrady despite having Yao has never been out of the first round. You have to identify how a player scores their baskets. Guys like Duncan score within an offense. Guys like Bosh press the pause button on the offense to "get their own".

Bosh and Calderon are just horrendous play-makers, and lack the court-vision or offensive awareness to be options one and two on a successful team.

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