So what went wrong here? The fingers will point to Bosh, and some at Bargnani as the number one pick. Why can’t Bosh carry a team like Lebron or Wade? Why didn’t Bargnani add as much to this franchise as advertised? Here’s a thought to mull over: when things were going pretty good here (as far back as last season in relative terms) - there was some indication that Bosh could in fact carry a team that didn’t really have a load of talent, and Bargnani has contributed pretty well whenever the other pieces fit.
Now look at this season. Bosh actually took things to a whole new level coming out of the gate. Then JO was supposed to be about doing all the little things and leading on the defensive end. Calderon was supposed to reach new heights with the “difficulties” that came along with figuring out whether he should start or come off the bench being solved. Jose was being handed an important role on this team, and was expected to respond accordingly, without having to worry about looking over his shoulder or whose team this was to run. Bargnani was expected to be able to come off the bench and find a comfort level as a bona fide big man and not a 7-footer that parks his ass beyond the arc. And the rest of the roles were expected to fall in line accordingly. Bosh did his part. Bargnani, with a series of new but less essential role than before has more than done his part in most cases. The guys with new and essential roles just fell flat. For whatever reason. We got more out of the pg position in the past. We got at least some signs of defensive improvements in the past. You toss those things out the window and that leaves the two guys that have filled their roles well, being left to make up for roles that have largely been abandoned.
Marion could be a revelation in that he fills the kind of role that has been overlooked a little too much. He is quick to the ball, simply provides energy the entire time he is on the court, and makes good decisions with and without the ball. Given some time, I also think he could be a missing link in the defensive chain. The lack of that guy with a good motor has hurt this team on defense as much as a lack of toughness (maybe moreso - Shaq’s night of BBQ aside). Maybe with Marion we get to see Bosh carry this team a little more again. But we’ll only get a glimmer if anything. Right now there’s still nothing that’s been decided as to what this team’s identity should be. Bosh has that knee brace on, and I personally am not hoping to see him put himself in a position to make that knee worse right now in meaningless games. I mean seriously - is anyone really going to rejoice if he plays like he did in November for the rest of the season, while risking more damage to do so, and achieving nothing of any use in terms of the standings? Let’s just hope to see a little chemistry develop, a few players continuing to develop, and some idea that the guys who have done their jobs pretty well on a terribly incomplete and unbalanced team with little depth in vital areas, can come back with a clean slate and provide real pieces to a vision that doesn’t get yo-yoed all season as to what advantages this team is meant to take advantage of.
All the while I will hear “fuck him”, “trade him”, “never going to work” in regards to Bosh and Bargnani and the two of them on the court together, and I’ll grit my teeth and bear it while waiting for it all to be blown up as many would wish, or simply given a different script with more prominence given to roles that have proven reliable, and the right systems in place to allow for those roles to carry everyone to the finish line every night.
The biggest problem this season has been with the points of emphasis coming in, and those points of emphasis then being shifted all over the place. Too much emphasis was placed on unproven ideas about what certain players could do, and the guys that have proven themselves have then suffered from the most and loudest signs of dissatisfaction, particularly a guy like Chris Bosh who if nothing else has shown himself to be remarkably consistent, able to play hurt, and pretty upbeat in the face of constant collective beatdowns. This team is not that much different than the Heat from a season ago. The star player looks a little helpless and spent, and there’s loads of speculation about him wanting out at some point. The holes are too big for one or two guys to compensate for. Injuries have hardly helped. And they even got to add Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the roster. A similar turnaround could come as well,and even without blowing it all up. That still doesn’t bring us all up to par with this season’s expectations, but I’ll take it and run with it all the same.