When Bryan Colangelo spoke to the media at the conclusion of the season, he mentioned that one of his top priorities was to keep Chris Bosh in Toronto. He noted that Bosh was one of the top 15 players in the game and that it was essential the team try to find a way to continue to build a superior club around CB4, and that he didn’t think the Raptors were that far away.
We’ve already pointed out how incorrect that "not far away" statement is in the past few weeks but how about the idea that Bosh is a top 15 player?
As Michael Grange pointed out yesterday in an excellent blog entry, Bosh was not among the players recently named to one of the All-NBA teams. That right there means that the league didn’t consider him to be a top 15 guy. And as Grange discusses, there are several other candidates who didn’t make the top 15 list who are at least in the same class as Bosh, if not a higher one.
-Deron Williams? For sure.
-Kevin Garnett? When healthy yes.
-Joe Johnson, Kevin Durant and Danny Granger?
Yes, yes and yes.
Even getting down to the Al Jeffersons and David Wests, I’d argue there’s not a huge degree of separation.
So if Bosh isn’t a top 15 player, again, can you really pay him max dollars?
We’ve poured over his stats and really, there’s been very little improvement statistically the past few seasons, so what is there to suggest that he’ll suddenly leap into that top 15 stratosphere? Aside from Shaq, and maybe Tim Duncan if he experiences a precipitous fall-off in production, you’d be hard-pressed to find room over the next few seasons for Bosh on one of those All-NBA squads; especially since he’ll have steep competition from players like Nene, West and Jefferson.
Top that off with the fact that Toronto is close to luxury tax range, needs to give Bargnani a raise soon, and still has major holes to fill in the roster, and again, I’m just not sure how you can explain a max contract to a player who hasn’t proven to be anything more than a great complimentary piece. He hasn’t even been truly dominant for his position on a consistent basis, and as a final knock against his max contract candidacy, he’s playing a position that simply doesn’t dictate game-play in this era of the NBA.
Further to the previous points, according to a recent post on MVP voting at Wages of Wins.com, Bosh isn’t even the top wins producing player on the Raptors!
That distinction goes to Jose Calderon, who by David Berri’s calculations, produced 12.4 wins.
Bosh on the other hand, produced only 10.9 and as you can see from this table, wasn’t even one of the top 5 win producing centers. (For purposes of this analysis, CB4 was listed at the 5 spot apparently.) Compared to other power forwards he’s definitely one of the top win producers but note that his mark is barely ahead of Shawn Marion, who produced 10 wins. And looking at Bosh’s "Wins Produced" metric compared to the rest of the league’s top producers, he falls barely in the top 30.
Now do I feel that Berri’s analysis means that in reality Bosh is not one of the top 25 most valuable players in the league? I’m not going to go quite that far. But you’d have to agree how eerie it is that in Berri’s MVP table, he has the sum of the Toronto Raptors’s roster producing 33.5 wins and in reality, the team won 33 games. Therefore it’s not like the Wins Produced stat isn’t a very effective way of getting a good feel for a player’s team-worth. Chris Bosh just doesn’t produce enough to command max money.
However it’s not simply as black and white as that is it?
There’s a stigma attached to the organization in terms of not being able to keep its marquee players so in the past, the team has had to overpay to keep key pieces. (We all remember the JYD, Alvin Williams and VC fiascos.) No team wants to be known as simply a place where players pass through to go on to bigger and better things – see Clippers, LA. My question going forward is if Colangelo can ignore this stigma and any negative fan reaction to moving Bosh and do what’s best for this club’s future. If Colangelo decides to give things one more go, with some new pieces around Bosh, he’s still going to be in the same situation financially heading towards next summer only by then, desperation time will start to kick in and fans risk another VC low-ball deal, or Colangelo being forced to overpay to keep CB4.
Again, I don’t want to see Bosh go.
I’d prefer if Chris realized that his performance simply has not warranted a max dollar contract, especially in the NBA’s current fiscal reality, and by demanding one, is only hurting the team which could put those dollars to better use in terms of getting him some much needed help talent-wise.
However we all know that such a scenario is about as likely as me suddenly sprouting up over that 6-foot threshold.
Bosh and his agent will want max dollars and if Toronto isn’t willing to give in to their desires, they’ll look to take his services elsewhere.
That’s why the ultimate game of poker is about to begin between Colangelo and Bosh.
Neither one wants to reveal their hand too early with Bosh holding all the key cards and Colangelo seemingly trying to win on the river.
Unfortunately regardless of who ends up winning this game, right now it’s shaping up to be a lose-lose situation for us fans.