There is no denying that the addition of JO is one of the major contributing factors to this change in mentality. His toughness and defensive minded attitude are just what the doctor ordered and his willingness to put his body in harms way really sets the tone. He has thrown his body in warms way a number of times already by standing in to take the charge and I think I have seen more shot blocking and outstanding defensive plays around the hoop in just three games then I did all of last season. Right out of the gate he is backing up his pre-season words about trying to do whatever it takes to win.
Of course to suggest this change in mindset stems solely from JO would be a grave mistake.
Much of this new found intensity comes from the face of the franchise himself, CB4. CB4 has brought a new attitude to team as well following his successful summer with the gold medal winning US Olympic team. On the offensive end CB4 looks scary confident. Even though he can hit from the outside CB4 refuses to settle for the J. On each possession you can see him sizing up the situation and on almost every possession making the right play or move. Even with that silky smooth J he is not shying away from contact and he is using the extra space made available due to JOís presence to exploit other teamís big men. His desire to get to the rim is helped by the fact that you are no longer seeing sloppy turn-overs or pour ball handling like in years past. You can tell that he believes he can score every possession.
Itís not however, the offensive part of CB4ís game that is having the greatest outcome on the teams early success. Itís his defense and his leadership.
I was lucky enough to sit courtside for the game against Golden State on Friday night and being so close allows you to get a real sense of how the players interact and appreciate the small intricacies of the game. Of all the things I noticed and observed the thing that stuck me the most is just how badly CB4 wants to see this team commit on the defensive end. On multiple occasions when running back on D, Bosh
would yell at the other guys and get them pumped up to make a stop. He would consistently be talking to his teammates and sending the message that playing anything but hard nosed defense was not accepta le. Heís was vocal, passionate and most importantly the other guys listened and wanted to follow him. Hell his passion on the defensive end is so strong that I caught myself lacing up my shoes a little tighter just is case Sam called my name.
Right before our eyes we have seen Bosh
develop into one of the best players in the NBA and with this sort of attitude and his commitment to winning at all costs we still have not seen his ceiling. Any questions about his leadership and ability to lead a team are now well behind him.