Chris Bosh’s fatal flaw is that he makes the game look too easy. His fatal mistake is that he has perfected a facet of the game that can’t be slowed down and cut up and edited and slapped together for a highlight reel.
Because, really, who wants to watch the best midrange jump shooter in the game every night on SportsCenter?
So refined and effortless is Bosh’s jump shot, and by extension his pump fake, that sometimes it almost seems like he isn’t impacting a game. This is his fatal sin, which will make his addition to the starting lineup of the East All-Stars on Sunday a controversial one.
On Friday in Houston, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, moonlighting as the coach of the East All-Stars, made it official and elevated Bosh to starter in place of injured Boston guard Rajon Rondo. Bosh will take his place alongside teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the starting lineup, giving the Heat the first trio from the same team to start an All-Star Game since 1990 (Magic Johnson, James Worthy, A.C. Green of the Lakers).
“Was there any doubt where my loyalties are?” Spoelstra asked.
Bosh doesn’t have the type of flashy game that fans crave, but basketball purists, including players and coaches in the NBA, hold Bosh’s skill set in high regard. At the age of only 28, Bosh is already an All-Star eight times over. A few more and his spot in the Hall of Fame will be all but guaranteed, if it isn’t already.
“It’s cool. It’s awesome. I’m happy,” said Bosh, who is now a three-time All-Star starter. “It’s always cool to be not only a part of All-Star Weekend but only a select few guys get to start, so I’d like to thank [Spoelstra] for giving me the nod.”
Bosh said Friday that he never lobbied to be a starter, but added, “I can’t say that my wife didn’t make a case for it.”
Adrienne Bosh took to Twitter in the final few weeks of All-Star voting in an attempt to drum up support for her husband. Bosh fell a few thousand votes shy, but 10 years from now who’s going to really remember?
And it’s not like Bosh doesn’t deserve the nod. After all, he’s shooting at a career clip (55.5 percent) and is without question the game’s best at the midrange shot, that venerable basketball skill that has slowly eroded over time thanks to the dunk and the three-point arc.
From 16 to 23 feet, no one in the NBA really comes close to matching Bosh’s efficiency. He’s shooting55 percent from that distance (116 of 212), which is by far the best percentage on midrange jumpers among players with at least 160 attempts this season. Kevin Garnett, Luke Ridnour and Kyrie Irving are tied for second, each shooting 48 percent.
“That shot is kind of like a lost art,” said Heat assistant Bob McAdoo, one of the best midrange shooters of his day. “That’s the shot I kind of dominated on when I played. Now, you see guys play and you see the fantastic dunk or [three-pointer], and everything in the middle you don’t see too many guys doing that.”
But here’s the reality of Bosh’s forgotten game, according to McAdoo. Bosh’s midrange jumper is invaluable to the Heat.
“He’s probably the guy that’s the glue on our team,” McAdoo said.
Glue is hard to define, so it goes ignored by most fans. Take Thursday night in Oklahoma City, for example.
James was the overwhelming dominant force in the first half, scoring a season-high 23 points in the first two quarters with bombastic style.
James was 7 of 11 from the field and 3 of 4 from three-point range, every make a highlight and every highlight better than the last.
Compared to James’ brutish grace, Bosh’s work during those 24 minutes seemed like a minor footnote. But look again at that boxscore. It was no footnote: Bosh was 6 of 7 from the field for 12 points to go along with six rebounds, two steals and three blocks. That’s glue.
Wade describes Bosh’s game as a blessing and a curse. The curse: Bosh really does make the game look too easy.
“He has a pure shot,” Wade said. “I think it’s so pure that he has to kind of fight against taking it all the time. He kind of makes the game look a little easy, and I think that’s why he’s kind of overlooked as a player, because of that outside shot.”
But the flip side of that graceful game is profound, Wade says.
“That’s going to save him for playing a lot of years in this league, because of that outside shot,” Wade said. “Like Kevin Garnett. Kevin Garnett has that shot. I think Chris is even purer from that standpoint. It helps with longevity. He’ll be around for a while with that.”
How does 15-time All-Star Chris Bosh sound? Sounds like a sleep aid to the producers of SportsCenter.