The Miami Heat triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh is an expensive combination of all-star caliber players. On any given night, it’s tough for all three to post the numbers people expect from a player on a max deal and of the three, it’s likely that only two will look good.
More often than not, who looks good for the Heat is just a question which dynamic athlete went off on that night. James is putting together the season of a lifetime punctuated last night by his 40 point, 16 assist and rebound performance in the Heat’s double overtime victory against Sacramento. His cohort Wade has been said to have lost a step and makes half a million less than his two superstar teammates, yet it was Wade hanging with James with 39 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds of his own.
Then there was Bosh, the power forward who once made Toronto competitive almost single handedly who has failed to consistently realize his place in Miami regardless of the team’s success. On Tuesday, his 15 point, 8 rebound night in 41 minutes just further shows his struggles to not only command more respect within the Heat offense, but to make an impact on the game in general.
The Heat are in the midst of a ten game win streak, but over the last eight games, Bosh has failed to break the 15 point mark on six occasions. For a player making $17.5 million this season, averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds isn’t that impressive, but to anchor a front court that spurs the team toward being the worst rebounding group in basketball throughout the season is shameful.
Bosh is talented without a doubt, but for all his skills, he is an average defender with limited quickness. His offensive ability speaks for itself as his footwork is impressive and perimeter game respectable, but he isn’t a player that Miami can rely on to adjust his game and do what the team needs. Great players make adjustments and hone their skills in areas you don’t expect to make the difference needed, but thus far we haven’t seen that willingness or capability with Bosh.
So the question continues to arise, does he deserve the money he’s making?
If Bosh was destroying the opposition with blocked shots and steals galore or even averaging a double-double, it would be easier to justify his pay check, but that isn’t the case. Averaging 1.2 blocks and less than a steal per game, Bosh isn’t the difference maker his pay grade would suggest.
The Heat scrambled to sign Chris Anderson for front court help, but they continue to lack the rebounding and interior defense they need night in and night out. They’re winning right now which makes the pressure minimal on the players, but think of the teams they are playing. Seven of the ten games have been against sub .500 teams and against two of the teams with a winning record, Bosh’s scoring was limited to a combined 18 points.
Having seen great teams put together championships with pieces like Tyson Chandler or Ben Wallace, the NBA fan knows that there are pieces that go into a championship puzzle that don’t require big numbers, there presence felt only in the game rather than on the stat sheet. But Bosh isn’t one of those guys and players like that don’t generally garner max contracts.
If Bosh was making $13 million a season and was a recognized third option, he could be excused for having an off night or even off week or two. But when you sign a deal that helps chain the franchise to living over or near the luxury tax line, you have to perform. You have to push for at least a 20 and 10 average and you have to be the difference maker that type of money indicates. Bosh isn’t, and until he is, he doesn’t deserve that much money.