Scaletta’s Summer Top 100 is a ranking of returning NBA players. For a full explanation of our methodology, read our intro.
Perhaps no one in the league has a more uncertain future than Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh, whose season again ended prematurely last year due to issues with blood clots, which can have extremely dire, even fatal consequences if left untreated.
Doctors treated the issue with blood thinners, but playing while being treated with blood thinners can also be fatal (via Rohan Nadkarni of SI.com):
It’s not that simple. The typical medication for blood clots is to take blood thinners, which can put users at the risk of heavy bleeding during physical contact. For an NBA player, this is obviously not ideal.
The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson and Ethan Skolnick reported in April that Bosh sought multiple opinions on how to treat the clots. At the behest of several doctors, he opted for blood thinners even though his DVT had dissipated in March. According to the report, the Heat didn’t even consider letting Bosh play while taking blood thinners, because the risks are severe, and in some cases, could even be fatal.
Ergo, whether Bosh plays at all is up in the air, not just how well he might play.
Before all this blood clot stuff started happening, Bosh was considered a top-20 player in the league. And there’s no indication that his skills have eroded. There’s no reason to believe that if he can play he won’t still be able to get back to the same caliber of player. This isn’t like coming back from an injury, where repaired ligaments can slow you down. Bosh has every possibility of returning to an All-NBA-caliber player.
Obviously, if he can’t play at all, his floor is out of the league. Considering that’s a very real possibility, we can’t ignore it here. I based his ranking on the presumption he does play. And if he does, it will still take some time to shake off the rust, and perhaps for Bosh to not only regain confidence in himself, but also allay the fears of his coaches and trainers. Minutes could be limited if he does play.
Bosh is one of the most versatile scoring big men in the league. His shot chart shows just how much he is able to spread the ball around the court:
He shot a 53.0 effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoots and was 59.6 percent within 10 feet of the basket. He was 70 percent inside the restricted area and shot 36.5 percent from deep, making 81 of them. Only three players made 100 shots inside the restricted area at a 70 percent rate and made 50 threes at a 35 percent rate: Bosh, Kevin Durant and surprisingly, Avery Bradley.
Bosh’s ability to score inside or outside and anywhere on the court makes him a valuable piece in any offense. He can always fit in with the players around him. It’s why he was such an underrated part of the Heat’s championships.
Bosh’s defense is a proven commodity, though it took a bit of a dip last year. The Heat were a marginally better defensive team with Bosh on the court, surrendering 2.3 fewer points per 100 possessions when he played, per NBA.com. Opponents shot 1.1 percent better when he was the closest defender on the play, but that can be a little misleading because 45.3 percent of his shot defenses were at least 15 feet away from the basket, per SportVU’s tracking data.
That confirms what the eyes would tell you: Bosh is guarding the perimeter a lot more than your typical big man, so his defensive numbers don’t reflect his real value.
Interestingly, the Heat’s defensive rating didn’t change whether he played with or without Hassan Whiteside. Ostensibly, the two should be able to work together to make a fierce combination. Their skills pair up well, so that suggests it might just be an issue of working out some kinks. They’ve only played a little over 750 minutes together because of Bosh’s missed time.