If last night’s 26-point loss to the Jazz (and seventh loss in their last ten games) didn’t make it painfully obvious, I’ll spell it out for you: the Toronto Raptors are not a particularly good basketball team. They have some talent at the top of their roster, but are painfully thin at some positions and flat-out ineffective at others.
Which is a damn shame, because Chris Bosh is one of the best players in the game today. Bosh has evolved into one of the most efficient and effective scorers in the league over the course of his career, carrying the offensive load for a depressing team in a very impressive way. This isn’t a Shareef Abdur-Rahim rouse that Bosh has pulled over our eyes; he’s very much the real deal, and is good enough offensively to be the centerpiece on offense…provided he can get some real help.
Bosh’s situation led Zach Harper, moonlighting at Raptor’s Republic, to invoke a very serious comparison for Bosh’s career arc: Kevin Garnett. Chris Bosh is Kevin Garnett…except, y’know, without the barking.
That’s certainly an interesting way to frame the Raptors’ 2010 plans. Bosh will have a pretty unique opportunity to know where he stands with this team, and that may no be a good thing for Toronto. As strong as the bond is between Bosh and the city or Bosh and the fans or even Bosh and the management or coaching staff, it all may not be enough to deter him from giving up on the neo-Troy Hudsons and neo-Wally Szczerbiaks that the Raps seem to be cultivating.
Andrea Bargnani could be a notable exception, and he has a lot of natural talent. But whether he’ll actually realize his potential is anyone’s guess, and in the meantime he’s still an odd frontcourt pairing with Bosh. Both of these guys should be playing power forward for an NBA team, but the circumstances with the Raptors have made things far too difficult for that.
Between Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jose Calderon, the Raptors have a lot of salary locked up over the next 3-4 seasons. Only one of those players could possibly be dealt for market value. So at some point, doesn’t Chris have to ask himself if he wants to resign himself to five or six more years of the same? Early playoff exits and enduring Turkoglu’s fall from grace? A mismatched roster that seems a bit hard to shake up?
Of course he does. And while it wouldn’t seem quite right to see Bosh jet out of Toronto, to see him do so five years younger than when Garnett was able to jet out of Minnesota would be well worth it. Bosh deserves better, and if better can’t come to him in Toronto, then he should probably try to find it elsewhere.