x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Change of scenery would help Bosh

Chris Bosh's public criticism of his Toronto Raptors teammates is a sure sign that he is set to leave the club in the summer.

Chris Bosh's public criticism of his Toronto Raptors teammates is a sure sign that he is set to leave the club in the summer. Rather than trying to motivate them from within the confines of the team's private sphere, talking down fellow Raptors in the media also seems to say that Bosh is tired of Toronto. His departure will be a shame because Raptors fans love him and he has shown himself worthy of their adoration.

In a season which has involved a great deal more losing than winning, he has put in his best effort in every game. If we put all the cards on the table, it is easy to see that Bosh would probably do well in a major media market because he is both a top-class player and a well-spoken individual. He could pitch any number of products just because he comes across as a decent guy with a good head on his shoulders.

Bosh, a free agent this summer, would go down well in major media centres such as New York, Chicago or even in Los Angeles with the Clippers franchise. I am sure that Bosh and his family have discussed his options at length. The Miami Heat would be a great match because they have Dwayne Wade. The Knicks would make sense if only because the big city loves basketball. Chicago is another potential because they have several young players, although Bosh's talents in the paint may not complement the incumbent Bulls' centre Joakim Noah.

Why should he stay in Toronto? The team has not had success in the Bosh era, other than a brief flirtation during their Atlantic division-winning season in 2007. Clearly Bosh could benefit from a change of scenery, but at the same time he should be held accountable for his lack of success. At what point does he become the difference maker? At what point does he become a winner? Or is he just a paper tiger?

A few days ago, Bosh hit a game-winning shot against the Atlanta Hawks. This event reminded me that Bosh has never really been a crunch-time player. He does not win big games. Almost two years ago, when the Raptors faced off against the Orlando Magic, Bosh was given the ball to win game two of the series. In his own words: "I got a decent look and just missed the shot." That does not cut it. Let the facts speak for themselves: Bosh has never done anything to warrant being called a superstar player.

I believe he is just outside that level of greatness. Some players make plays to win big games. Robert Horry comes to mind. While he was no great star, he consistently hit game-winning shots and seven NBA titles with three different teams are proof of his effectiveness. The bottom line is that perhaps Bosh is not a franchise player but rather a top complementary player who will never win on his own.

In a perfect NBA, Bosh goes to Miami, forms a dynamic duo with the superstar Wade and puts the Heat among the league's elite. Perhaps the time has come for the Raptors to recognise that they will never be a dominant force with Bosh as their leader. As in life, sometimes a separation is for the best. I would hope that the Raptors can salvage something by agreeing to sign Bosh to a new deal before trading him away to sow the seeds of a future winner.

If nothing else, Toronto sports fans are loyal and willing to wait for an era of success. @Email:sports@thenational.ae