Just two players in the last eight years have averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds per game in season – Chris Bosh and Kevin Love.
Bosh hasn’t sniffed those numbers in recent years for the same reason Love won’t any time soon.
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For four years, Bosh limited his game with the Heat so LeBron (and to a lesser extent, Dwyane Wade) could excel. It paid off in a big way. Bosh won two championships, went to four Finals and played a prominent role in one of the NBA’s greatest experiments.
Now, Love will have to limit his game with the Cavaliers so LeBron (and to a lesser extent, Kyrie Irving) can excel. We don’t yet know how it will play out, but Cleveland’s goals are just as big as Miami’s.
From one star power forward turned LeBron sidekick to another, Bosh has some advice for Love:
You don’t get your pick of the buffet.
“Exactly,” Bosh said. “You just get your entree and that’s it. It’s like, wait a minute, I need my appetizer and my dessert and my drink, what are you doing? And my bread basket. What is going on? I’m hungry! It’s a lot different. But if you can get through it, good things can happen. But it never gets easy. Even up until my last year of doing it, it never gets easier.”
“It’s going to be very difficult for him,” Bosh said of Love’s new task. “Even if I was in his corner and I was able to tell him what to expect and what to do, it still doesn’t make any difference. You still have to go through things, you still have to figure out things on your own. It’s extremely difficult and extremely frustrating. He’s going to have to deal with that.”
More than anything, this shows what incredible pressure the Cavaliers are facing.
Bosh has all these stern warnings – and that’s after the Heat achieved so much team success. Bosh’s sacrifices paid off how he hoped they would, and he still acknowledges how difficult it all was.
What if Cleveland doesn’t win big? What if Love’s sacrifices go for naught? How will he handle it? If he grumbles, how will his teammates respond?
Putting three stars on one team is asking for a chemistry problem, and winning is the only cure.
Thankfully, when it comes to winning, having three stars helps just a little bit.