North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

What Will Chris Bosh’s Toronto Legacy Be?

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As another famous Raptor gears up to go, it seems only fair to see where he places in relation to the other famous ex-Raps.

After all, it’s clear Bosh’s tenure with the Toronto Raptors is over. Sometime over the next weeks, probably before too long, he will sign with another team as a free agent.

And as he goes, my mind turns to his legacy here in Toronto.

In the eyes of the fan, Bosh isn’t a dirty word; not an easy feat, as Vince Carter and Tracy MacGrady can attest to. While the Raptors are not in better shape for his leaving, he did not burn the team on the way out. Instead, he’s been nothing short of classy, even going so far as posing a question on leaving on his Twitter account.

Some might argue it was a little insensitive, but the kind of fan who took it as a personal affront probably would have been offended had Bosh asked if the beaches in Miami are crowded.

His attitude, especially in the light of the end of a 2009-10 season which saw the Raptors fall from the playoffs and Bosh’s season end early with a broken face, is certainly admirable. He has not made any shots, veiled or otherwise, at the city or at its fans. Hell, he’s even praised the city if I’m remembering right.

That alone will propel him to the highest graces of some Raptor fans. Few fanbases react with the same ferocity that Toronto has for some players who left the city: Vince Carter is the obvious example, but it’s hard to imagine the day Vesa Toskala or Shea Hillenbrand is embraced by Toronto.

So that’s certainly one major point for Bosh’s legacy in Toronto. What else does he have going?

He’s got a bucketful of Raptor records. Here’s an abbreviated list of what he leads the team in:

  • Points (10275)
  • Rebounds (4776)
  • Blocks (600)
  • Double-doubles
  • Minutes played (18815)

He’s in the Raptors’ top ten for steals, assists and games played, too. Plus, he’s the only Raptor to score 10,000 points or more. He’s set some single season highs too: most rebounds per game (10.8, set this year), free throws (504 in 08-09; no Raptor has been able to get to the line like Bosh has) and total rebound per cent (17.7, 09-10).

All that should cement his reputation as the greatest Raptor ever, shouldn’t it?

Well, maybe not. A closer look shows advanced stats are less kind to Bosh. His usage percent – the number of plays run for Bosh – is third all time, behind Vince Carter and TJ Ford. His offensive rating – points scored per 100 possessions – is fourth, ranking behind Matt Bonner and Jose Calderon. His defensive rating isn’t even in the Raptors’ top 10.

And while he may have the most rebounds of any Raptor, his total rebound per cent (an estimate of total rebounds he could have grabbed) is fifth.

However, he does have a tremendous leg up in two big stats: His career PER is 21.3, just a shade behind Carter’s 21.8. His PER of 25.0 this past season ties him with Carter for the team’s highest. And he has nearly 62 win shares as a Raptor, putting him well above anybody else. I’d say that balances out anything else.

But how does it look in terms of success? True, the team’s record is far from his fault alone, but it’s worth noting that in Toronto, Bosh never made the second round and made the playoffs twice. Carter made the playoffs three times and came within a basket of the Eastern Finals in 2001.

Bosh’s teams also had a slight tendency to underachieve, too. With him as team leader (a period I’ll define from 2004-05 to 2009-10), the Raptors finished above .500 just twice and finished below their Pythagorean record three times.

Those points feel nitpicky, though. Bosh played on some bad teams and with some real dogs for teammates: Rafael Araujo, a washed-up Jalen Rose, the immortal Milt Palacio, etc. With what he had, I can’t really imagine too many other players doing any better.

In all, I think that’s what Bosh’s legacy will wind up being: he may not have done great, but he did pretty good with what he had. He was fairly unlucky at the start of his Toronto career and was again at the end. I’ll always believe if he didn’t get hurt, the Raptors beat Chicago and make the playoffs.

It’s a bittersweet legacy. When he leaves, I won’t feel burned or scorned. There won’t be pangs of anger or even regret at what could have happened next. I’ll understand. It was time for a change, he paid his NBA dues and wants to go a contending team.

But I’ll be left with so many unanswered questions: what if this, what if that. There’s so much more that I think could have happened that didn’t. It’ll be hard not to wonder what could have been, had the breaks all gone his way. I hope that in his next stop, they do.

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Written by M.

June 30, 2010 at 7:10 am

One Response

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  1. […] What Will Chris Bosh’s Toronto Legacy Be? « North of the 400 – His attitude, especially in the light of the end of a 2009-10 season which saw the Raptors fall from the playoffs and Bosh’s season end early with a broken face, is certainly admirable. He has not made any shots, veiled or otherwise, at the city or at its fans. Hell, he’s even praised the city if I’m remembering right. […]


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