Bosh didn't have leadership skills

Miami Heat's Chris Bosh is fouled by Boston Celtics' Glen Davis. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Miami Heat's Chris Bosh is fouled by Boston Celtics' Glen Davis. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:00 PM ET

TORONTO - Let Chris Bosh hear it Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre if you didn’t like the way he exited Toronto.

You won’t be alone.

But if your only beef with Bosh leaving is the seemingly desperate situation he left the franchise that drafted him, then perhaps you should think again.

The Raptors brass certainly did when they sat down to discuss whether they felt comfortable handing Chris Bosh $120 million US for six years.

Bosh eventually made the decision for them opting to head to Miami, but there was healthy debate well before that happened within the Raptors boardroom where his leadership abilities were openly questioned. The crux of the debate though was whether the team was better off keeping Bosh at that price or letting him walk.

Bosh’s departure, while unquestionably hurtful in the short term, is actually a good thing for this organization.

Before you chalk this up as another one of those bash Bosh columns you’ve been reading about since he left, understand this is not an attack on CB4 the basketball player.

He is a talented, hard-working player, arguably one of the top two to ever wear the Raptors uniform. He’s just not a good, or even a decent fit as the player this franchise could have been built around.

And make no mistake, had the Raptors had the opportunity to shower that $120-million max deal on Bosh and he accepted, they would have had no choice but to go forward with Bosh the square peg in that round hole.

Bosh just isn’t the kind of alpha dog an NBA franchise with aspirations of contending for division, conference, and league championships requires.

Bosh, in fact, is much more suited to the role he currently holds with the Heat.

He’s much more comfortable in the second, or as is the case in Miami, third option than he is pack leader.

For one thing, Bosh does not possess the leadership qualities required by a lead player in an NBA clubhouse.

Bosh is a fine leader by example but does not have it in his DNA to be the vocal No. 1 like a LeBron James, a Dwyane Wade or a Chris Paul has.

Team sources said that time and again the organization was on Bosh to be more of a leader. To be the guy who brought his teammates together away from the court as well as on it and forged the kind of tight unit that helps a team weather the bad times and prosper in the good.

But Bosh, while he tried on occasion, never embraced the role. It just wasn’t and isn’t in his nature to lead.

This was then head coach Sam Mitchell back in January of 2008 commenting on Bosh:

“He’s the face of our franchise and he is our best player,” Mitchell said. “But just being the best player is not enough. You pay a guy because of how he plays, but what they forget to tell you is in that fine print are all those other things that you are responsible for. Not only are you responsible for your play but to a certain degree you are responsible for how your teammates play.”

Bosh had no trouble raising his own game, but he wanted no part of trying to raise anyone else’s.

In Miami, Bosh doesn’t have to talk. He doesn’t have to lead. He is not responsible for anyone but himself. He just has to produce — and on that score he’s very capable.

Even the position he plays makes Bosh a poor fit to build a franchise around.

The NBA these days is a guard-driven league. Teams are building around the guys who have the ball in their hands the majority of time, not power forwards who can be double teamed on the catch.

The Raptors are much further ahead building around a guard, be it a point guard or shooting guard, than they ever would be a power forward.

Their present situation — taking plenty of lumps while their youngsters mature — gives them a much better shot at becoming NBA relevant again than had they tied themselves to Bosh for the next six years.

As one insider said, retaining Bosh at that price for that length of term would have ensured six years of mediocrity at best.

You can make the point Toronto doesn’t have anything resembling a replacement for that lead role presently on the roster and you wouldn’t get an argument here. But at least now there’s the chance of someone already here growing into that role or, barring that, bringing someone else in to fill that void rather than trying to force it on an unwilling, albeit talented, Chris Bosh.


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