So I was very upset last night. I had merely assumed Chris Bosh would be in uniform, looking forward to building upon my very superficial earlier assessment of his abilities. Of course that was not the case as he has been out with injury. I will just need to catch a Raptors game on League Pass upon his return.
What really stood out to me during the first meeting was from just how far out Bosh likes to operate. I don’t think I have seen another power forward in the league (other than Dirk, who doesn’t really count) who can shoot fadeaways with such ease from such great distance.
The above is Chris Bosh’s hot zones for this season. Most striking is that his favorite spot seems to be at the right elbow, a tendency which would be ideal for a Yao-centric offense, with Yao Ming’s favorite spot being the left block (Yao can operate from either block but is more effective on the left because he can either fadeaway towards his right shoulder or come to the middle for the hook – on the right block, he can only fadeaway to his left shoulder; he has no ability to come towards the middle from that side.)
Chris Bosh also takes 53% of his attempts as jumpshots which of course is a crucial ability for a power forward to have in this offense. Really, you can’t find a better fit for this offense in this league at the ’4′ than Bosh.
I have long felt that Yao Ming is most effective when he receives the ball at the end of plays rather than at the beginning of them. If he receives the ball at the beginning of a play, he is then forced into passing upon drawing the double team; Yao is not a good passer and has very slow reaction time. Ideally, you want to overload the other side and then swing it to Yao at the end so he can shoot before the defense reacts. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, we only saw this sequence during the second half of McGrady’s first year. I have long felt that making Yao a scoring target (as opposed to an offensive facilitator) was the main adjustment made by Jeff Van Gundy that season to trigger the team’s second half run. For whatever reason–possibly McGrady’s injury problems–we have never seen it again, and Yao has been used as a facilitator where he is prone to fronting defenses, turnovers, and getting blocked from the weakside.
I envision an offense where Bosh receives the ball on the right elbow, his favorite spot, as the focal point of each set. Unlike Luis Scola, rather than just shooting or passing, he can actually turn his back from this distance and draw the double team. The three guards continue cutting, keeping their men away from shading Yao. Bosh now has the option to attack on his own from the triple-threat position, either shooting or driving, or he can move the ball to one of the guards with either a hand-off or a kickout.
Our multi-dimensional guards can now either shoot, where they are lethal, or drive in where they are equally lethal.
If the guards choose to pass, the ball can be swung around the perimeter and quickly dumped into Yao or handed off to him inside off of the drive. The intent of such an exhaustive sequence is that through each successive event in the chain, the probability of the defense successfully rotating to Yao is continuously reduced. Either a prior event produces a high efficiency attempt for another player or Yao receives the ball in his favorite spot with the optimal probability of single coverage. The point should be to make Yao a scorer and simply a scorer. Yao Ming is not a passer.
What makes Bosh so unique, distinct from someone like Amare Stoudemire, is the ability to actually set up from the high post. You see, Stoudemire operates from the perimeter just as effectively. The distinction though is that Stoudemire is the end of a play – he attacks immediately off the catch because his two skills are driving and shooting; he can’t hold the ball and draw the defense. This presents somewhat of a conflict with Yao because Yao too is best used as an end target. On the other hand, Bosh can actually hold the ball at the elbow and draw the defense because he has the ability to post up from that distance.