What Chris Bosh's Resurgence Means for the Heat
As we approach the halfway mark of the 2015-16 NBA season, the Miami Heat are 20-13 and are currently the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The team is led by power forward Chris Bosh, who is quietly putting up better numbers than he did during his All-Star years with Toronto Raptors.
How good was he then and now? And what does his season mean for the Heat?
Bosh played his first seven seasons in Toronto and quickly established himself as a perennial All-Star and one of the best young players in the NBA. He averaged 19.7 points, shot 49% from the field, and grabbed 9.1 rebounds per-36 minutes over those seven years.
Bosh also averaged a 113 Offensive Rating and a 107 Defensive Rating with the Raptors, good for a Net Rating of +6. His average PER (Player Efficiency Rating) was 21.3, his average Win Shares per 48 minutes came in at .158, and he registered a True Shooting percentage of 57.1%.
It's no surprise, then, that he was fit to be a piece of a bigger puzzle.
The Big Three
Bosh was somewhat of an afterthought in the offense, playing more of a role by spacing the floor. His Usage Rate dropped to 23.5 in his first year with the Heat, down a long way from 28.7 in his last year with the Raptors.
Those Miami teams excelled by playing â€œsmall ball,â€ moving James to the power forward position and sliding Bosh down to center. Bosh did play 90% of his minutes at center in his final season as a Raptor, a mark that moved to 24% in Year One and 55% in Year Two with Miami. But he eventually played 97% of his minutes as a center in 2012-13, and that mark stayed above 73% the two following years.
Over the four years in the Big Three era, Bosh averaged just 18.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per-36 minutes, but he improved his shooting percentage, as he shot 50% from the field.
The Man in Miami
In the summer of 2014, LeBron bolted back to Cleveland, and Bosh signed a max contract with the Miami Heat, for $118 million over five years. This contract showed that the Heat were expecting Bosh to lead Miami.
Last season, however, the Heat struggled, and Bosh ended up missing the second half of the year after being sidelined with blood clots in his lungs.
Even when he was healthy, Bosh shot a career low 46% from the field and saw his True Shooting percentage, Net Rating, and Win Shares per-48 fall.
Putting It All Together
One of the biggest stories of Bosh's career has been his ability to expand his range on his jump shot. After shooting just 168 three-pointers (0.3 per game) in his seven seasons with the Raptors, Bosh has taken 2.8, 3.8, and now 4.4 attempts from beyond the arc per game each of the last three years.
His percentage has gotten better every year as well, going from 33.9% to 37.5% and now an incredible 41.0%.
This season, nearly all of Boshâ€™s numbers are back at Toronto levels, if not higher.
Bosh is putting up 20.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per-36, has seen his True Shooting percentage jump to 58.3%, and owns a 22.3 PER. He has also recorded .211 Win Shares per-48 and a +16 Net Rating (116 Offensive Rating and 100 Defensive Rating, which are both career highs).
Bosh is living up to the max contract that the Heat handed him and has led the team to one of the best records in the Eastern Conference thus far.
Boshâ€™s game has evolved as his role has changed, and now everything is finally coming together. If this continues, the Miami Heat will be a team that no one wants to face in the playoffs.