Nothin’ but Net: Turns out, Bosh is still good

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – The Eastern Conference Player of the
Week for the opening week of the season was Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat.

You know, the guy everybody ridiculed constantly for being soft? Or the man
universally deemed the most overrated player in the history of the
association?

That’s the one.

Obviously, we are only three games into Miami’s season, but the Heat, and Bosh
especially, have been very good. They are the Eastern Conference’s only
undefeated team and Bosh is the primary reason.

He is averaging 25.7 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.3 spg, while shooting 48
percent from the field and 54.5 from 3-point range. Those numbers are
astronomical and all would be career-highs, if only there weren’t 79 more to
come.

How Bosh is posting them is impressive, too. Gone are the days of Bosh banging
on the interior. He’s using his athleticism to go by bigger defenders and
hitting that jumper that has evolved during his tenure in South Beach.

“I knew I couldn’t settle into that same position I’ve been in the past four
years, floating outside and shooting a couple of jumpers,” Bosh told
ESPN.com’s Michael Wallace. “I know I had to switch it up a little.”

Bosh is such an interesting figure. He’s one of these types that went from
being “overrated” to being “so overrated, he’s a little underrated.”

Bosh was extremely productive in his seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors.
He averaged over 22 ppg in his final five seasons where the beer is stronger
and everyone’s funnier. Three of those final five campaigns, Bosh posted
double-figure rebound averages, thus, making claims about his softness …
odd.

Once Bosh joined the Big Three in South Beach, he did so as the willing third
option. LeBron James was better than everyone on Earth and Dwyane Wade could
still play before his knees went out on him. Bosh was there to be a third
scoring option, hit the glass a little, and, by season four, stretch the floor
to allow James maximum space to operate.

In Bosh’s third season with the Heat, he upped his 3-point attempts to 2.8 per
game and made a respectable 34 percent. That number really isn’t bad since it
was basically his first season doing it.

When critics sharpen knives at Bosh, they fail to acknowledge that,
statistically his game took a fall, but it was going to with James and Wade.
That was by design.

No one mentions that Bosh sacrificed numbers to help the team. He became the
stretch four that they couldn’t find, or that Rashard Lewis never really could
become.

In doing so, it’s become a legitimate weapon in Bosh’s arsenal. His face-up
game is strong and carrying him at the moment, but his shooting is keeping
defenses honest, and keeping big men out of the paint. The Heat don’t have the
wrecking ball force known as LeBron James needing that interior space, but
it’s there. It’s actually been Bosh taking advantage of it.

Those 4.0 apg are really impressive. Bosh is facilitating offense from the
elbows. Of all his outrageous stats this early, it’s those assists and the 3-
point percentage most likely to dip into normalcy.

And shame on all of us for underestimating Bosh. Did James Harden teach us
nothing? When Harden was shipped to Houston, most of us didn’t expect him to
dominate the way he did. Harden got a new opportunity and flourished.

We all just assumed Bosh would stay the same player as the one in Miami with
James doing the heavy lifting. Instead, Bosh improved.

Know who did think Bosh was going to be great again? Pat Riley and the Heat.

They offered him five years and $118-plus million, which, he readily accepted.
The Houston Rockets offered him a big deal, and most assumed he’d take it.
With James back in Cleveland, wouldn’t the Rockets with Harden, Dwight Howard,
Bosh and presumably Chandler Parsons back, be better than Miami with Bosh and
Wade?

Well Bosh didn’t think so. Maybe he wanted one more chance to be the man.
Maybe he likes the stifling humidity of Miami. Either way, the Heat and Bosh
realized that Bosh would be the primary offensive weapon. He’d have to be,
right?

Wade moves around like a cross between my 98-year-old grandmother, and what I
imagine Andre the Giant would look like if he were alive, minus any weight
issue.

Luol Deng is not a superstar scorer. Josh McRoberts is not at all. That left
Bosh and he’s handling the job.

Bosh’s numbers will go down, but to all of you Bosh haters, remember that he
can still dominate. Now, he does it in a variety of ways.

Maybe Bosh has gotten better. Maybe not, but now we at least know Bosh is not
overrated.