Perhaps no superstar has gone through more transformations than Chris Bosh. In Toronto, he was The Man — the team’s best player and clear-cut No. 1 in the hierarchy. During the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” era, Bosh was The Key. Miami’s terrifying, swirling defense was predicated on Bosh’s defensive acumen, while their spread offense relied on his ability to space the floor and move the ball.
Now, with LeBron James back home in Cleveland, Bosh is transforming once again, this time into some sort of happy medium between The Man and The Key. Before the Heat faced the Denver Nuggets on December 10, Bosh spoke to HoopsHype about adjusting to yet another new role, how he’s expanded his game, and what he tells his teammates during the Heat’s recent struggles.
Was it a tough adjustment for you to step back into a bigger role this season without LeBron?
Chris Bosh: I’m required to do more on offense and defense, plug those holes that we've had with LeBron (gone). It's a good challenge, it makes it exciting. I’m just trying to do the best job I can possibly do.
How has your game grown since you’ve had to take on a bigger role?
CB: (My) mid-range is more solid, which it has to be, because I've lost some quickness and speed. My three-point shot is a lot better. I'm a better passer, and the game is a little bit more under control. Something I've really worked on over the past few years is trying to be in different positions and being a better player in different roles. It was difficult to adjust to, over the past four years, but I think it's helped me in my all-around game.
What do you mean by being a better player in different roles?
CB: Knowing how to move without the ball. Be a threat, constantly, without having to have plays run for you. I'm just trying to be aggressive. It's just trying to put that perfect marriage together – being dangerous with the ball, being dangerous without the ball, moving without the ball, getting my open shots, getting some post ups, getting some layups. It's so many different parts of the game that I have to get used to.
A lot of that comes down to chemistry, right?
CB: Definitely. Guys have to know where I am and when to get the ball to me. I have to know when to cut so they can see me, and I have to know when to cut to get them open. It all works together.
Is that chemistry built through time or communication?
CB: Time. Even if you do have conversations constantly, and you need to, it's still going to take time. It's something you have to get over. You're going to make tons of mistakes. As much as we want to hit the ground running, it hasn't happened for us. But we just have to stay with what we're doing. We have to believe in each other, believe in ourselves and know that eventually, we can get the job done.
Is that something you're telling the other guys? That mistakes are going to come, but you're going to do good things, too?
CB: Yeah. I mean, we'll do good stuff, but that doesn't make the frustration any less real. There's still going to be frustration, you're still going to have to go through (that). That's what makes this special. You either sink or swim.
How have you learned to deal with that frustration over the years?
CB: Just stick with what you're doing, until it passes. Either you learn from it, or you don't. Either you get tired of it and settle, or you continue to try and put your best foot forward.
At some point, do those frustrations not affect you as much?
CB: Yeah. You got to think of the big picture, You're still going to be messed up sometimes, but just know that it isn't the end all, be all. It's a process, and you have to understand it's a process. The process means you're going to go through ebbs and flows, ups and downs, and you just have to try your best to get to that point where you're on a nice cruise.