Previously, we looked at the pros and cons of win shares and how we wanted to figure out the top five individual seasons in Raptors history. You can read that introduction here to get caught up. Now, we start our countdown with the fifth best individual season on our list.
During the 2007-08 season, Chris Bosh accumulated a win share total of 10.1 with the Toronto Raptors. This was back when his dreadlocks were still in their infancy, and Bosh put up one of the best statistical seasons in team history. In 67 games that season, he posted 28 double-doubles (points and rebounds), scored 20 or more points in 42 games, and had four of his ten career 40-point games.
One of those 40 point games came against the Orlando Magic:
It still stands as one of the most efficient games by an individual Raptor in franchise history. Against the Magic, Bosh went 14 for 16 from the field, made all 11 of his attempts at the free throw line and even hit a three pointer, which was significant as he only made ten of them that entire season. Along with his 40 points, Bosh also added five rebounds and five assists and only turned the ball over once.
After the game, head coach Sam Mitchell talked about Bosh's improvement, "When Chris is making his jump shot, he is just too hard to guard. He can go around, left and right, and he can shoot it. I told the coaches at halftime when we went into the locker room to just leave him alone, don't coach him because he doesn't need our help right now."
Bosh made his third All-Star game appearance that season, and finished with averages of 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game, while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and a career-best 84.4 percent from the free throw line. So, he didn't even need this All-Star video to get him there:
While the 2007-08 season wasn't Bosh's career best in scoring or rebounding, it was one of his most efficient. With his stellar play, the Raptors managed to make the playoffs for the second straight season with a 41-41 record. Without Bosh, none of this would have happened, considering their second leading scorer was Anthony Parker at 12.5 points per game and sophomore Andrea Bargnani shot just 38.6 percent from the field that season.
In our countdown of the top five individual seasons in Raptors history, this is Bosh's only season that appears on the list. Although it should be noted that six of his other seasons with the team landed in the top 25 by win shares. Also, Bosh is the franchise leader in total cumulative win shares at 61.8.
The 2007-08 season was when Bosh posted a true shooting percentage of 58.8 percent, the second-best of his career. He also had the highest free throw rate, taking .544 free throw attempts for every field goal he attempted. So, he was getting to the line, and also shooting it at over 80 percent. He certainly made the most of his possessions on the offensive end that year, but also had one of his best defensive campaigns as well. In fact, of the seven seasons Bosh spent with the Raptors, this is the only one that ranks in his top three in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
That equal blend of offensive prowess and defensive impact is what set Bosh's 2007-08 season apart from his other ones with Toronto, along with his overall effect on the team. That may seem strange to say considering they regressed from the previous season with just 41 wins and lost in the first round. But you just have to imagine how far that team would have fallen without Bosh, which is a scary thought.
In my introduction, I spoke about the particular emotional attachment we may have to certain seasons and how advanced stats can help in blending in a dose of reality in that regard. I certainly think this is a good example because many people may look at Bosh's other seasons in Toronto where he had higher peripheral per game averages. Or some people may remember the 2006-07 season more fondly because the team surprised everyone and won 47 games and the Atlantic Division. I certainly wouldn't have pointed to the 2007-08 season as Bosh's best individual year with Toronto, but after taking a deeper look into the numbers, I'm convinced.
Bosh still stands as the franchise leader in points, rebounds, blocks and minutes played. Even though some fans are still upset at his departure, he had some great moments in his seven seasons here, and it makes sense for him to be on a countdown of the top five individual Raptors seasons. Without him, this list would feel incomplete, and even incorrect.