Bosh is okay with role

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

PORTLAND -- Chris Bosh's pre-season numbers haven't exactly been anything to e-mail home about.

The Raptors forward owned a team-best 32 double-doubles last season, good for 12th in the NBA, but so far in the pre-season, the Dallas native has yet to record that stat, excluding the Oct.16 game against European club Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

His numbers have been decidedly mediocre in the last four pre-season games, including Toronto's 105-98 loss to Portland in Winnipeg on Monday night, when he managed just five points and seven rebounds in 37 minutes.

"Yeah, it's frustrating," Bosh said yesterday, following the club's shootaround at the Portland Rose Garden. "It was frustrating last game because I only had five points and I don't think I took any bad shots. But I had five assists because I was trying to get my teammates involved. At least that's something I can build on."

The problem is simple. With Bosh improving by leaps and bounds seemingly every week since breaking into the league two seasons ago, NBA teams have begun to double team him more and more. That's a challenge and the 21-year-old frontcourt star will have to change his game.

"We want Chris to focus on a lot of different things, especially passing out of a double-team," head coach Sam Mitchell said. "Last year, he struggled making passes out of double team. So far in the pre-season, he's making those passes. And what's going to make things better for Chris is when we start knocking down those shots. "

As the double-teams increase and Bosh's shot count decreases, it's likely that his point total will go down this season, although his value to the team may actually rise. If he is double-teamed more, and reacts by finding the open man for an easy basket, the Raptors benefit.

"If my point total goes down, somebody else's point total will go up," he said. "If I have to score less points to win more games, and make our team more effective, that's fine with me."


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