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Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  19 responses

Right Kind of Buzz

Chris Bosh’s best season is dispelling critics.

by Aaron Vaccariello

Earlier this month Chris Bosh became the Toronto Raptors’ all-time leading scorer in a win against the Spurs – News to some, older news to others. Since that Spurs game, the Raps have won six of ten games in January with only three games remaining. Keep in mind this write-up isn’t about the milestone itself, or how it helps bury another trace of VC’s past.

I’m not going to write about how it’s proves little in a franchise that’s only 15 years old, or how it’s more meaningful than it is. I won’t boast Bosh, or praise a team that before their improvement was becoming one of the worst defensive teams in NBA history. What I will do is map out a player that has been subject to so much criticism in his seven-year career that it takes a RuPaul joke for anyone to take notice. If you’ve followed Chris through his time in TO you know how much media attention he receives north of the border, and how little attention he attracts from the US. These days it’s different. Bosh gets buzz… so big, he can probably sell a blank disc. Mainly because out on the court this season, he looks more like the brontosaurus he resembles – massive. Unlike any other season, Chris has started strong and improved on it.

His stellar play must have rubbed his teammates the right way because the Raptors have garnered attention with unlikely wins over the Spurs, Magic, Mavs and most recently the Lakers. An average of practically 24 points and 11 boards has him as the only player in the top ten in scoring and rebounding. And in a season that may be his last as a Raptor, CB4 looks to be at the pinnacle of his game. Some of his skills have flourished, but most of them were always there, just as untapped ability. Listed below are weaknesses that held Bosh back his entire career. Some of these facets have changed this season, and he may never look back on them.

THE JUMPSHOT
You’ve seen it time and time again. Mike James/TJ Ford/Jose Calderon/Jarrett Jack feeds Bosh on the outside of the key. Ball at his waist, he faces his opponent up. After a couple ineffective stutters of his pivot foot he rises up for the shot. Now it’s no secret that Bosh can make that shot. After all, it’s a staple in his repertoire. But how many times have we been shouting at him to drive the ball on the slower, more stationary big man in front of him? CB is just as successful (if not more effective) driving to the rim in place of his jump shot. A foul or finish is usually the outcome. Finally we can stop shouting at the TV. Currently, Bosh ranks in the top five in total FTM and FTA.

TOO SOFT
The Raptors have a history of being as tough as a housecat wearing a cone. Since Bosh is the face of the franchise (sorry Hedo), he represents Toronto’s attitude. And for many years that attitude said, “this team is your doormat.” However, in the current 09-10’ season, CB and his team carry themselves with a little more grit than they used to. Although we haven’t seen grill-to-grill action, it’s easier to see a more hardened side of Chris. Besides Paul Pierce wishing him a happy new year with a knee in the Dick Bavetta, he’s displayed more ferocity and emotion than ever before. A good example? Check the jam he threw down on Sheldon Williams.

NOT A CLUTCH PLAYER
Since Morris Peterson’s departure to New Orleans in 2005, the Raptors struggled to find their most reliable player in crunch time. As the face of the franchise, Bosh was often called upon for big time shots. Shots that he just couldn’t sink. Perhaps other forces were to blame in some cases, but in most cases, Bosh didn’t have the mojo. Colangelo and company tried to address the issue by signing Hedo Turkoglu in the offseason, which has proven to be a disappointment in Raptorland thus far. Surprisingly, Chris has risen to the occasion hitting daggers against the Spurs and Sixers. A couple clutch shots doesn’t shed his rep for folding under pressure, but it could be a sign of what’s to come.

SECOND OPTION
The haters out there believe Bosh is not a leader. They think he lacks the fire to really throw his team on his back, and therefore should only be a complementary player. Now that Andrea Bargnani has grown into the shoes of his number one pick, Bosh gets to compete like the leader people expect him to be. Point being, all leaders need support to succeed in the League and the support Bosh is receiving appears to be a key reason why he’s excelling. Whether you consider CB as a leader or not, he’s leading by example. Few teams will find a Gasol to their Kobe, but the pieces are forming to maximize Bosh’s potential.

WHERE’S THE FIRE?
It’s still to early to determine if CB4 has let the lion out of the cage. His approach has been bubblier since the 09-10’ season began. His attitude has been questioned all along for being too passive and people believe any true competitor is feared. So can Bosh be intimidating enough to his opponents this season in order to command the level of respect he deserves? When someone comes looking for their doormat will he be there to send them off? People want to see Bosh get angry. Then translate that emotion to produce results. They want to see him stick up for himself, and his teammates. If he can learn to take his frustrations out on his opponents instead of the referees, he will be dangerous.

The points above are some of things Bosh has taken heat for all these years. And now, nearly halfway through the first season of the decade Bosh seems to be doing what great players do – address their weaknesses, and improve on them. Call it a turnaround, but you can only speculate why Bosh believes now more than he ever has. Is he aware of what free agency will bring next summer? Maybe he’s trying to better prepare himself for the drooling execs that are headed his way next summer. Whatever the case may be; Bosh didn’t come into the League with everyone expecting him to take the NBA by storm. That was Bron’s duty. And Melo. And Wade. Bosh arrived quietly. The same won’t be said when he leaves.

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  • martin

    oh yea! some love for CB4.

  • Pedro Bear

    ” Since Bosh is the face of the franchise (sorry Hedo)”

    Should have said “(sorry Andrea)”. Bargnani is the heir apparent to the franchise should Bosh leave.

    Then once the rest of the league realizes how good Bargnani is, they’ll start writing articles about how he’s going to leave the franchise etc. etc.

    Same old shit, different year.

  • J.Deneer

    Apart from help/team defence, I agree that Bosh has been playng great this year. I want to be a fly on the wall and check him out in the locker room, see how he interacts with his teammates and coaching staff. Bargnani is a stud. FREE MO PETE!

  • http://www.twitter.com/NotebookNick thesubwayconnection

    Bosh’s defense is the only thing that should be worried about when looking to sign him this year. He isn’t a shot blocker (only 1 bpg), and help isn’t his strength.

    As a side note, Hedo’s terrible.

  • CHOOKS

    He’s more like a Pau Gasol type. Not really a leader of a team, but a good back-up guy to let’s say a lebron, D wade, or Carmelo for sure. KG was the same way for years until he finally took Minnesota to the western conference finals.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Why do people try and forget Vince Carter’s place with the Raptors? The way he left was messed up but Carter put Toronto on the basketball map. Those teams with Carter, Oak, Ant Davis, Alvin Williams, etc. were the funnest teams to watch, and they played well together.
    Bosh is the man, though.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Bargnani >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Turkoglu.
    Jarret Jack >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Turkoglu.
    Demar DeRozan, Jarret Jack, Bargnani, and Amir Johnson are the future of the Raptors, whether or not Bosh leaves.

  • JA

    Bosh gets buzz… so big, he can probably sell a blank disc…c’mon now get original and mo pete was never a clutch player in his days as a raptor, u musta seen his games winning 3 pt shot again wash. a few years ago and thought to yourself, they that guys a clutch player…no..sorry, an if they gonna trade bosh i wish they wud trade him, and all of these “inside sources” HA! they inside there homes, and there sources is the internet. not one of these guys broke a story in a looooooong time and if someone cud tell me one i’d like to hear it thanks!!

  • http://www.realultimatepower.net doyouwantmore

    Get him a better point guard and a bruiser for a backup center and the team goes from above-average to awesome. Hedo might have been a mistake, though. A clutch, scoring small forward or two-guard was definitely the biggest need, but I have a feeling Hedo thrived because of Orlando’s system more than anything.

  • http://hotmail.com Speedy

    Raptors will lose Bosh because there are no players talking about the bad side of doing that. Many players have left Toronto and not succeed, only player I know to achieve any success was T Mac. I wish the media can preach that Bosh in Toronto is good for basketball in Canada. I wish Bosh stay put and shows the media you can win in Canada rather than play second fiddle to some other superstar in Miami or New York…

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Jarret Jack is a good player.

  • http://jayemmbee.blogspot.com ClutchPerformer

    Bosh is the man, i see as a humble man, perfect fit for us in canada, i think he will stay

  • SS

    MoPete didn’t leave in 2005, he left in 2007. Major error there.

  • Aaron

    @SS: That 5 was definitely meant to be a 7. Thanks for the close eye. It seems like Mo’s been missing for that long anyways.

  • matt

    um didnt you see? chad ford and espn thinks hes leaving. si writers think so too. it doesnt matter what people actually involvedi n the situation, cb4 included, say.

  • torontoraptors

    His interior defense is horrible. He gets abused by big bodies like Shaq, finesse players like Gasol, power players like Bynum and smooth players like Beasley. He gets his stats like a Zaach Randolph but can’t play defense. He will always be known as the Rupaul of big men.

    Everyone in Toronto knows that Jack is the leader of the team.

  • http://sbrother.wordpress.com brothersteve

    Bosh has been an all-star for years, even though he’s just 25. And this year he has stepped up his game.

    But leadership seems to be coming from his college buddy, Jarrett Jack and more recently Hedo Turkoglu.

    It seems unlikely Bosh will be going anywhere and very likely his game will continue to improve baring injury.

    But leadership looks to be coming from the PG and SF spots on the team. And that does make more sense.

  • Aaron

    @torontoraptors:
    There’s truth in what you say about Bosh as an interior defender. I know that everytime D12 (or some of the players you mentioned) comes around, Bosh stumbles. Can’t say I agree with Jack being the leader of the team by popular consensus, but he does have some fire in the belly.

  • http://www.sheysmith.com Shey

    Other than maybe Nowitzki, name a better PF in the league this season.

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