Plenty Of Backup For Bosh At Power Forward This Season

Ulmer's Position-by-Position Analysis: Point Guard | Shooting Guard | Small Forward | Power Forward | Centre
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Mike Ulmer -

October 2, 2009 - We have been breaking down the Raptors, position by position.

Today, power forward.

Through an unprecedented flurry of deals, at least in the 15-year history of the Raptors, general manager Bryan Colangelo has managed do detract the focus from the future of all-star forward Chris Bosh.

The sign-and-trade that brought Hedo Turkoglu, the drafting of DeMar DeRozan and the acquisition of Marco Belinelli, Reggie Evans, Jarrett Jack, Amir Johnson and Antoine Wright should mean upgrades all over the lineup.

Thus the question of whether Bosh will opt out of his contract at seasons end has been pushed nicely to the back burner for now.

Colangelo has gambled that a satisfying season - he has tagged 50 wins as a target will induce Bosh to stay. He likes the city and barring a sign and trade, the Raptors will remain the team that can pay him the most.

But a season as desultory as the 2008-2009 campaign could mean the end of his six-year stint in Toronto.

Chris Bosh

2008-09 Statistics: 22.7 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.0 bpg, 38.0 mpg, 0.487 FG%, 0.245 3p%, 0.817 FT% in 77 Games Played (77 starts)
Age: 25
Strengths: Boshs biggest strength, right now, is his strength. Early in the summer, he watched a video of the United States Olympic victory in mens basketball. He saw the hulking physique of LeBron James and Dwyane Wades less showy but equally sincere commitment to fitness. That, Bosh, decided is what he wanted and what he got. Through punishing workouts Bosh has added 15 pounds. He is now better equipped to handle the heavyweights under the basket.

Bosh is deadly from the low post where he possesses the requisite big man moves. Considering he shoots so often from 16-feet away, Boshs field goal percentage is in the top 10 percentile for the league.

Bosh runs the floor extremely well and is terrifically agile. He wants the ball at clutch moments. He is an excellent rebounder and the clubs career leader in both offensive and defensive rebounding. There has never been the slightest whisper about his attitude or willingness to do whatever it takes to win.

He is a determined to break into the ranks of the top 10 players in the game. A knee sprain cost him five games but other than that, his attendance record was faultless. He did start this season with a tweaked hamstring but that was considered inconsequential.

For a big man Bosh is an excellent free throw shooter. He shot .817 from the line.

Weaknesses: Bosh needs to improve on his three-point shooting. He attempted only 49 three-pointers last season and hit just 24 per cent of his attempts. No wonder then that he attempted the shot so infrequently. Its a shame because with his ability to roar by big men and his height advantage over any guard, Bosh could shoot the shot at will or decoy the three-pointer to set up a drive to the basket.

While he is a good rebounder, Bosh is not a shot-blocking intimidator. Andrea Bargnani enjoyed a 97-77 advantage in blocked shots last season.

Reggie Evans

2008-09 Statistics: 3.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.1 bpg, 14.4 mpg, 0.444 FG%, 0.000 3p%, 0.594 FT% in 79 Games Played (7 starts)
Age: 29
Strengths: Rebounding. Pure and simple. Despite playing under the rim, Evans is a rebounding machine. Pro-rated to 40 minutes a game, Evans would have averaged 12.7 boards a game. He twice led the league in that category. Evans sets jaw-breaking picks. He views every rebound and loose ball as his personal property.

Should Calderon be hurt, Jack is able to stand in indefinitely. In games where he played 40 minutes or more, Jack averaged 18 points. He can be a physical, hard-nosed defender.

Weaknesses: Because of the vigor of his picks he incurs offensive fouls. He is an erratic shooter. Evans has always been a very poor free throw shooter. Last years .594 clip was easily his best career mark.

Amir Johnson

2008-09 Statistics: 3.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.1 bpg, 14.7 mpg, 0.595 FG%, 0.000 3p%, 0.657 FT% in 62 Games Played (24 starts)
Age: 22
Strengths: Johnson has terrific athletic ability. Listed at six-foot-nine, he is closer to 6-feet-11 so he has the height necessary to play centre and the athletic ability to play power forward. Johnson is coachable and his emerging skills allowed him to start 24 games for the Pistons last season. He played 15 minutes a game for the Pistons but the most instructive time might have been in practice where he battled Rasheed Wallace day after day. He is an excellent shot blocker.

Weaknesses: Johnson is typical of so many players whose decision to bypass college for the NBA seems to have retarded their development. He is extremely foul prone and that limits everything he does. His offensive repertoire is very limited.