Watching Chris Bosh play, he certainly possesses some similarities to Kevin Garnett. Both are long, lean, perimeter-oriented big men who can shoot from outside, put it on the floor, and rebound the basketball. Both players have spent time toiling on bad teams, seeing their talents wasted on rosters that simply weren’t designed to win basketball games.
But, let’s be honest, the comparison only goes surface-deep.
While Garnett certainly has his faults — an unwillingness to be the unquestioned go-to guy, for one — he has always been a player who’s helped take his team to a higher level. Whether it be by hyping up his teammates with his ethereal passion for the game, being positioned perfectly in help defense, or finding an open teammate with an unselfish pass, KG has always, without fail, carried his teams to heights they would not have reached without him.
Sure, KG took awhile to get out of the playoffs’ first round, but how far would a team starting Rasho Nesterovic, Kendall Gill, Anthony Peeler, and Gary Trent for a combined 172 games have gone without KG? (Seriously, look it up. That’s the 2002-2003 Timberwolves, a team that won 51 games in the superior Western Conference. The next year, with Trenton Hassell, Michael Olowokandi, and Ervin Johnson combining to start 146 games — not to mention the immortal Mark Madsen starting 12 — KG took the Wolves to the Western Conference Finals. You can say what you want about KG not being clutch, but don’t say he was the reason for his teams being bad… you can’t do it.)
While KG was always a fierce leader who inspired his teams to better days, Bosh might be the single biggest reason his teams don’t win ballgames. I’m not trying to say he’s a bad player, or that he hurts his team, but how far can you go with Bosh as your best player? He doesn’t play much (any?) defense, is softer than a nice beach underneath your bare feet, and doesn’t have the same mindset KG has of sacrificing his own game to help his team. Honestly, watching Bosh play, I don’t know why a team would ever offer him a maximum contract; You can win games with Chris Bosh as your best player, but I am thoroughly convinced Bosh will never be the best player on a championship team. He just won’t. He doesn’t have the tenacity, the heart, the toughness, or the ability to raise his teammates’ play. I’m sorry, Toronto fans, but that’s a fact.
Anyway, I wrote this post just so I could show you a quote from Bosh in the Boston Globe. So here it is…
In one fourth-quarter sequence, Bosh said he wanted Bargnani to swing the ball to the weak side for an open 3-pointer. Instead, the ball was stolen from Bargnani.
“I don’t pass for no reason,’’ Bosh said. “If I pass the basketball, it’s because I see something that nobody else sees. I think if he would have passed the ball, we would have had an open 3-pointer.’’
Could you ever see Kevin Garnett throwing his teammate under the bus like that, or saying he doesn’t pass for no reason? What ever happened to team play, Chris? In all his years in the league, I don’t think I’ve ever heard KG say a single bad thing about any one of his teammates. He’s started alongside the likes of Mark Madsen, Ervin Johnson, Michael Olowokandi, Dean Garrett and Cherokee Parks, but I still have never heard Garnett say a single disparaging remark about any of them.
But that’s a huge part of what makes KG so special. Whatever itis that makes a player do anything he can to help his team win, including having their backs in postgame press conferences, Garnett has it.
And Chris Bosh, for whatever reason, doesn’t. Yes, he could still develop it…
But I wouldn’t hold my breath, and I damn sure wouldn’t offer him a max deal.
As for Garnett?
Come back, damn it!