NBA / Feb 1, 2012 / 11:30 am

Who’s Better: Chris Bosh Or LaMarcus Aldridge?

Chris Bosh (photo. David Alvarez)

Chris Bosh (photo. David Alvarez)

No position in the NBA is as loaded as the power forward spot. True centers are dead. Two guards are top heavy. Small forwards all want to be two guards. And point guards that can actually run teams are outnumbered by athletes playing the spot. But look on almost every decent NBA roster, and you’ll find one of their best players is a power forward. Look at Pau Gasol. He’s been one of the 10 best players in the NBA for three years, and yet this season he might not even make the All-Star Game because there is so much competition.

But for a position so deep and different in talent, Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge are oddly similar: Jump shooting, finesse big men who have been criticized throughout their careers for not being assertive enough. This season, we’ve seen both at their best. Aldridge is having what looks like his first All-Star year (finally), while Bosh has become comfortable as the third wheel in Miami.

But who do you think is better: Bosh or Aldridge? We argue. You decide.

*** *** ***

No star player has had it harder than Chris Bosh, from the personal attacks to his time as the first option in a forgotten NBA city to the move to Miami. The whole argument about Bosh not being a “No. 1″ franchise talent, it’s never made sense to me. In Toronto, he averaged at least 22 points a night for five straight years. He led that franchise to the playoffs twice; In his second career playoff series, he averaged 24 and nine. Can you win a title with Bosh as your best player? Probably not. But he’s closer than LaMarcus Aldridge.

I guess it depends on how you look at a No. 1 guy. If that top dog has to lead his team into contention for championships, then how many truly great players are there? In Toronto, Bosh played in five straight All-Star Games and led teams into the playoffs where the second-best players were T.J. Ford and Anthony Parker. Aldridge has never won a playoff series (and he’s played with much better talent than Bosh had in Toronto) and he’s never even made a single All-Star Game.

If you go by career numbers, Bosh averages more points (20 to 17.6), more rebounds (9.2 to 7.5), more dimes (2.1 to 1.7) and also shoots it at a higher percentage and blocks more shots. He’s done more individually and won more with less (At least in Toronto. He can’t complain now.).

Even this season, while Aldridge has the better numbers, Bosh is averaging 20.7 points on 53 percent shooting as a No. 3 option. And I can guarantee LMA would not put up those numbers if these two switched teams. Bosh gets criticized for being soft or unaggressive, but Aldridge is arguably even worse. Sometimes he spends entire games drifting around the 17-foot arc, shooting nothing but standstill jumpers.

You might not like Bosh, but you have to respect his attitude. Who else would confront someone like Skip Bayless, and sit there and take the dude calling him out, calling him a woman on ESPN? In the playoffs last season, every time Bosh had a subpar night, he redeemed himself in the next game. After playing horribly in Game 3 in the semis against Boston, Bosh went for 20 and 12 the following game, hitting some of the biggest shots in the fourth quarter that basically killed the C’s season. After taking all of eight shots in Game 2 against Chicago, Bosh erupted for 34 points the following game (on 13-for-18 shooting). Miami might’ve blown the Finals, but while Dwyane Wade was surprisingly off and LeBron completely silent, Bosh came through with big shots down the stretch in nearly every game.

Who was perhaps Miami’s most consistent player in last season’s playoffs? Bosh. Who made the most with the least? Bosh.

Everyone loves to make fun of Bosh and say he could never lead a team on his own. But honestly, what has Aldridge done? Even this year with one of the most talented teams in the NBA, LMA has Portland at 12-9, probably one of the largest disappointments in the whole league. His numbers (22.6 points, 8.8 rebounds a night) aren’t much better than Bosh’s, despite being No. 2 (behind Blake Griffin) among all power forwards in usage rate (25.3). The last time Bosh got the ball as often as Aldridge, he only averaged 24 and 11. Call me when LMA reaches those numbers.

There’s a difference between what you do, and what you can do. Aldridge has everything he needs to meet individual expectations: an alpha dog role, a team of talented co-stars and a system that is predicated on getting him the ball in scoring positions as often as possible. Bosh plays with the two best players in the world, and often has to resort to leftovers, the pup in the region’s most dominant wolf pack.

Perception becomes reality. Roles can define who you are. In his case, it’s quite obvious Bosh is the one being asked to hold back. But that doesn’t mean he can’t do more.

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  • north

    You really don’t think that Wade’s injuries have inflated Bosh’s numbers in his time in Miami? And don’t even get Toronto fans started on Bosh’s time north of the border. The playoffs were made because the East was weak. Let’s not forget that the role players he had at the time were each pretty perfect for their roles. If Bosh was any kind of leader those teams would have gone deeper.
    Toronto should have drafted LMA instead of Bargnani and shipped out Bosh early. The Raptors would be rolling out LMA and Roy Hibbert instead of a really tall SG at centre, nothing for Bosh and the reminder that they traded a great young centre for Jermaine O’Neal past his prime.

  • BiGShoTBoB

    Without having even read the article yeah I’d take LMA allday over Bosh. He’s so soft remember Shaq called him the Rupaul of the league. Also LMA has a better back to the basket post game.

  • K Dizzle

    L.A. over Bosh only because L.A. wants the leadership, wants to be the go to guy. Physically, both these guys are pretty even up. Their games are similar so we gotta go to the mental. Bosh wanted to leave his team, where he was the main man, to go play with players who are above him in the pecking order. Let’s be real: If their situations were reversed before Bosh bounced to Miami, Aldridge would be the multiple time all-star, while Bosh would be the all-star snub so that means nothin to me.
    Like north stated, the east was weak and the west was fully loaded so Bosh getting his team to the playoffs doesn’t carry much weight.
    This comes down to how the players view themselves:
    Bosh is the third option on a top heavy squad where he had absolutely ZERO PRESSURE to succeed so he’s playin with house money. Miami wins, Bosh gets 25, great! Miami wins, Bosh gets 10, whatever! Miami loses, Bosh gets 10, what were Lebron and DWade doin? No pressure!
    L.A. loses B-Roy and Oden and steps up his game even more. Accepts the burden of being the franchise.
    Aldridge is better…

  • BiGShoTBoB

    Although I must say Sean had the better argument…


    Bosh attitude is his downfall. Dude got the skills just does not have the will.

  • BiGShoTBoB

    Bosh reminds me alot of Rasheed Wallace but without the Defense. I say that because he relishes being the second fiddle and in fact may not even like being the main guy. I think when everything is said and done they’re careers will look very similar. Rosco was never numbero uno but he ended up winning a chip eventually as an important piece. Also Wallace’s number one knock? Not using his back to basket post game enough!

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    Bosh reminds you of Rasheed Wallace?? I think you might be thinking of Wallace & Gromit.

  • http://ufl.edu Big Freeze

    Didn’t even have to read the second page to realize Sweeny dominated the argument. When you have facts and statistics that prove your side, there is little need to argue otherwise. Bosh > Aldridge

  • Big T

    LaMarcus all day long.. it’s not even close.

  • the truth

    ^^^ i don’t think you watch basketball. And i’d take bosh over lma, and it’s very close. Sweeny great argument

  • stefan

    the arguments for Bosh are definitely more convincing. Bosh’s style of play does make him look soft, avoiding contact. But he is quicker than every other PF, so why not go by them and let them push and foul you while shooting? I think this is the reason why people hate on Bosh, he looks soft, but my explanation is simple. He’s skilled and quick and knows how to use those attributes to his advantage. Stats confirm it. I would take Bosh over Aldridge.

  • Adam

    Aldridge will light up single coverage almost every time…including Bosh. He’s used to being double teamed in the post and having a guard run at him just to stop his dribble.

    Better defender then Bosh.

    He’s also surrounded by terrible shooters so he’s used to operating with bad spacing and in a crowd of defenders.

    The stats arguments aren’t going to tell the whole story and Eastern conference was not the Western conference so you can’t overvalue Bosh’s resume.

    In any case, Aldridge will prove decisively to be the better power forward in the next couple of years.

    He also makes a ridiculously good center too if you want to get technical. 6’11” long arms. Shot blocking, rebounding and interior scoring go up when he plays the 5. His offensive/defensive on the court/off the court numbers are completely freakish.

  • http://Dimemag.com Sole

    What sweeney didn’t mention are the teams both played in the playoffs, the east was weak when Toronto played in the ps, the west is always stacked so the competition is tougher plus LA wasn’t in his prime yet like bosh was, LA is now in his prime so after this PS we will be able to determine who the better PF is

  • shuttles

    LMA not close. Not that’s it’s the only thing that matters, but watch these guys go head to head. LMA dominates the match up. Here’s what they did against each other last year:



  • Ian

    bosh for me

  • Big T

    @The Truth

    Considering your name is relative to Paul Pierce, I can’t take anything you say seriously.

    Here’s the real truth though…

    At this point in time, LeMarcus is better than Bosh, and no, it’s not even close on either end of the floor. I’m basing my opinion strictly on THE NOW, not ‘what was’ back when Bosh was the man in Toronto, or what may be in the future.

    Sweeney can claim that Bosh “feeds off leftovers”, but if anyone has ever actually watched a Heat game, the attention diverted to Lebron/Wade creates plenty of opportunities for Bosh to contribute. So, I can’t begin to imagine that he’s at some sort of a disadvantage. Lamarcus is only getting up 3 more attempts per game than Bosh.

    And if you need more statistics, recent and not the long haul career stats that were conveniently provided by Sweeney, refer to Shuttles post. End of story.

  • stefan

    1. Everybody is on the Miami Heat hate and transfers that to Bosh and
    2. Aldridge gets everyone’s sympathy only because he got snubbed last year

  • JoeA

    If you think Bosh is better than LMA because of “stats”, remember LMA was Robin until Roy went out and Bosh was a Batman on a TERRIBLE Toronto team.

    Remember when Dwight own’d him in the playoffs???

    Bosh gets single coverage almost all game, he is rarely doubled and I promise you he is NOT the focal point for a team planning on defending the Heat.

    LMA is finally coming into his own, this is his first year without Roy, people call him “soft” but he wasn’t the teams #1 until now…

    LMA>Bosh, but it is very close, the argument for Bosh was more convincing but numbers can fools gold.

  • http://www.bettlejuiceXs3.com Chicagorilla

    You people are nuts.

    1st off, if i had to choose between the two give me LMA because he’s 7ft tall and if you ask me he SHOULD BE LISTED AS A CENTER.

    But Chris Bosh is better than him skills wise. But that’s mainly because Bosh is an actual Power Forward or 4 man (using the word Power to describe Bosh doesn’t seem right). Bosh can handle the ball, is a good passer, and fairly clutch. LMA can’t do any of that.

    LMA gets 3 offensive rebounds per game. I’m not too excited about his overall rebounding numbers, but at least I know he can rebound in traffic. Bosh is soft. He doesn’t want to bang in the post and he CAN’T bang in the post.

    ONe thing i don’t get is the whole LMA = All-star this year. why? what is he doing that makes him an all-star?

    Blake Griffin has better individual numbers and his team is better.
    Kevin Love has WAAAAAY better individual numbers and his team is nearly equal to LMA’s.

    So anyone still making that lame ass argument that LMA is better or on the level of these two is sick in the head or don’t know basketball.

    Now im gonna go back to watching the guy that’s better than bosh and lma Blake Griffin (3 lobs in the first 2min of the game already)

  • pipdaddyy

    Big T had it right: Bosh had a longer and better “early” career (Sweeney’s stats), but right now Aldridge is better.

    As for Griffin, he obviously has more potential, but I would not rely on him in end of game situations, while I have no problem giving LMA the ball down low to go 1-on-1. Griffin is more athletic and a better rebounder, Aldridge is a more complete player.

    The stats are similar, and all average under 1 block per game:
    LMA: 22.6 pts, 8.8 rebs, 2.8 asst, 50%/78%
    Bosh: 20.9 pts, 7.8 rebs, 2.0 asst, 53%/82%
    Griffin: 21.1 pts, 11.1 rebs, 3.0 asst, 52%/51%

  • K Dizzle

    How did Blake Griffin get into this discussion?
    Coulda swore the title was Bosh vs LMA…

  • Stylos

    Blake should not be in this discussion for many reasons, most of all because he is nothing like these two players: a high-flying dunk machine. And besides rebounding and the occasional bank shot, Blake has no other facet of the game to note.

    L.A. and Bosh are both great mid-range shooters, but L.A. has a much more versatile skill set that allows him to score in many more ways than Bosh. Not to mention L.A’s shot is a more fundamentally pretty and harder-to-block shot.

    Being the main man in Portland does help L.A’s stats, but Bosh is on a team where only two other players can score more than 5 ppg which helps Bosh. Even if Bosh isnt the number one option, he gets plenty of opprotunities. Aldridge deals with a lot more constant pressure from the team he faces, his own team, and especially the fans. This is newfound pressure for him, because the Blazers have been carried largely by Brandon Roy, and an offense that was not designed around L.A. until now. and he is fluourishing with it, despite a team that is inconsistent to say the least on the road, so far.

    Stats are not as helpful in this situation, comparing a PF in the west to a PF in the east in the past 10 years has been a joke, for there have been so few mentionable ones in the east. Until recently the west has been known for its Trees (Duncan, Dirk, younger Shaq, Malone, Robinson, Sabonis). L.A. is a more true POWER forward, whereas bosh is a tall small forward.

    Both are great players fitting different roles on very different teams, but the question to answer is who would you rather have in your starting line-up, regardless of who else is on the team. Based off of actual gameplay, attitude, skill-set, and potential instead of situational statistics or bias, LaMarcus Aldridge is the obvious choice.