|Chris Bosh: Still part of the team. Really.|
Q: How do you make Chris Bosh disappear?
A: Ask Mike Krzyzewski.
It's lunchtime in Raptorland, morning in Japan, nowhere for Chris Bosh. I'm confused --Bosh goes DNP, the boxscore lacking the usual NBAesque "CD" notation? There wasn't a four-minute stretch where Bosh might've proved useful? He didn't even warrant an end of the quarter blow for Dwight Howard, or even an end of the line blow, Howard going out of the game for some time after he fell painfully on his back. All right then -- anyone for a Loren Woods look-in, at least?
At least burnout won't be a problem when Bosh resumes his Raptor duties. He hasn't played more than 13 minutes in any of the USA's four games. Coach K has been rolling his lines, with two units of five playing run and gun, which has led to some criticism and debate -- check out True Hoop for updates and good links, and Doug Smith here at The Star has been providing a good daily check on Raptors; the FIBA site is AWFULly slow and clunky and not to be trusted -- and Bosh has not been among them. Nor was he among them today against Italy when The K, finally faced with an opponent that wasn't rolling over, shortened the rotation.
From the bits I've looked in on -- not much, admittedly, perhaps 40 minutes total between exhibitions and worlds play, all of it buried well up into triple digits on the digital dial and tipping off at the unspeakable hour of 6:30 a.m. -- I haven't seen a play run for him. He's been limited to setting screens, trolling for putbacks or the odd rebound, maybe hoist up a jump shot.
Sure, on a team with Wade, Anthony, Brand and LeBron, it was always going to be this way. But DNP-CD?
In Bosh's last two games, he had 13 scoreless minutes against Slovenia and then today, didn't get off the bench in the U.S.'s tight win over Italy. In three games, he's put up five shots and made one. This isn't an all-star. It's the Incredible Shrinking Man.
There's a pride and sense of accomplishment that comes with selection to your national team. But serving as a towel-waving mascot is somewhat less that what this was advertised as. These guys have long since stopped practising, too, so it's not like there's even that positive to take from it, the (dubious) notion that matching up against Brand or Dwight Foster in workouts is going to make for some development out of this.
At least Bosh, and pinemate Brad Miller, will get some minutes, now that the USA is counting it down to the knockout round in Thursday's final, meaingless group game, against Senegal.
Other, admittedly quick impressions of Raptors from these first few days of the tournament:
Jose Calderon can be a quality NBA backup -- if he was matched against the little guy Germany had on him most of Spain's game on Tuesday, that is (or was it Monday?) Still, he shot well and directed the show nicely for the Spaniards.
Garbajosa, whose name is going to make for some good signage in NBA stands this winter, can step out and hit the jumper. But here's the thing -- EVERYONE in Europe can step out and hit the J. I still haven't seen any of that grittiness everyone's talked about, and I wonder how his package will adapt to the NBA, but the guy's won a lot and I'm not prepared to draw any conclusions off this skimpy evidence.
Rasho Nesterovic looks fine, pretty solid for his Slovenia team, scoring from outside and grabbing rebounds. He'll do just fine for the Raptors -- hell, relative to the stiffs they've had, he's a star.
Slokar has played for Slovenia, and I've seen him. At least I think it was him. He has wispy facial hair, okay? Does that identify him enough? Yes, he's been that memorable.