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  Mon, December 8, 2003


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The Last Word
The play of rookie Raptor Chris Bosh has thrust him into the spotlight usually reserved for Carmelo and LeBron. But Bosh's numbers justify his being there.

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

If the NBA's rookie of the year had to be chosen today, the voters' heads might explode into three equal chunks.

Really, how could you choose right now between LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh?

Two-thirds of that trio of whiz-kids will be on the court tomorrow night in Cleveland, when James and the Cavaliers play host to Bosh and the Raptors.

"Yeah, it has crossed my mind a couple of times," Bosh said of the showdown with James, the No. 1 pick in the draft last June and arguably the most hyped player in the history of the NBA. "But it's just another game against Cleveland and we're going for like, four or five (wins in a row)? Five? Man, going for five straight."

One of the main reasons the Raptors have won six of their past seven is the play of Bosh, the 6-foot-10, 19-year-old phenom and fourth-overall pick who has been starting at centre since the big trade that brought Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall and Lonny Baxter to Toronto for Antonio Davis, Jerome Williams and Chris Jefferies.

Yesterday, in the Raptors' 108-98 win against the Seattle SuperSonics at the Air Canada Centre, Bosh racked up 22 points and 16 rebounds. The 16 boards represented a career-high. He tied the Raptors rookie record for most rebounds in a game (now shared with Marcus Camby).

And Bosh also tied the NBA season-high for most rebounds in regulation time by a rookie (now shared with James).

Bosh has great timing when it comes to rebounding, but both he and Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill pointed out that part of the reason Bosh was able to crash the boards so successfully was related to the way the Sonics were playing.

The Sonics are a mirror image of the Raptors, who can be thankful we don't mean that literally. Brent Barry looks like a cross between George Harrison circa 1965, Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo cartoons and Steve Nash's ugly brother.

Vladimir Radmanovic's hairstyle and heavy beard make him look like an extra in the original Planet of the Apes movie.

And little Luke Ridnour resembles a wee hobbit.

But rather than physical similarities, we're talking about stylistic ones. Both the Raptors and Sonics live and die by the jump shot. And both clubs have to play stellar team defence because they usually are outsized.

O'Neill said the Sonics' decision to double-team Carter and Rose regularly allowed Bosh to roam through the paint unobstructed to collect seven offensive rebounds. And the Raptors have enough scorers now to provide Bosh with extra space at the other end of the court, too.

"I think the additions (from Chicago) have made Chris a lot less pressure-ized," O'Neill said of Bosh, who is averaging 14.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game since the deal. "It was going to get to the point that Chris was going to be our second option on straight post-ups, and he wouldn't have been able to handle that.

"When people are putting together their game plan, they're talking about Vince Carter and Jalen Rose first, Donyell Marshall and possibly Chris as a fourth or fifth option. As long as he's in that situation, I think he'll be okay."

Does the rookie wall loom on the horizon for Bosh?

"I wish I had a better feel for it, "O'Neill said. "When I was (an assistant coach) in New York and Detroit, we weren't playing any rookies. But I feel like this guy is a little more special than maybe we all give him credit for."

James got credit for being special even before he had touched a ball in the NBA.

"That's not a focus of mine," Bosh said. "If I get attention or not, we're still going to have a game the next day."

For the record, Bosh is getting his share of attention now, and his next game is against James.

The winner won't automatically be declared the rookie of the year.

But the mere fact Bosh has worked his way into the conversation with James and Anthony is one of the most exciting developments of this young season.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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