CHARLOTTE -- Now that he has become an NBA all-star, the Raptors' Chris Bosh has set his sights on another, perhaps more difficult, goal.
"I told him (on Thursday), now that you've become an all-star, your next step is to start making us a playoff team," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said yesterday after the team's morning shootaround at Charlotte Bobcats Arena. "And he looked at me and said, 'Coach, just keep me humble. Just stay on me, keep pushing me, keep me focused.'"
Bosh is in his third year with the Raptors, and during that time he has yet to taste action in the post-season. But now that he is an all-star and the team seems to have a healthy stock of young talent, including Charlie Villanueva, Jose Calderon and Pape Sow, Bosh, like his coach, is setting his sights on the playoffs, perhaps as early as next season.
Mathematically, the club still has a shot this season in the mediocre Eastern Conference, but it's a long shot.
"I like watching (the playoffs) on TV," said Bosh, who was named to the East all-star team Thursday night.
SOONER OR LATER
"It looks fun. That's one of the greatest stages in sports, the playoffs. Eventually we're going to get there."
Sooner, rather than later, he was asked.
"I think so," Bosh replied.
"Everything else happened fast, why not that?"
Bosh is eligible to sign a long-term contract this summer, if he chooses to do so. While there have been conflicting reports as to whether he wants to remain in Toronto or not, recent indications are the 21-year-old star appreciates the direction the team is heading and is leaning toward staying put -- hopefully, he said, with Mitchell pushing him.
"Like I always say, Sam is one of the most honest people I know," he said. "He's always going to tell me the truth. And I'm sure he's going to be on me even harder because of (the all-star selection).
"I have a lot of responsibility and I'm just trying to live up to it and it's all about working hard and believing in ourselves and our team -- that we can do it. That's where it starts. With us."