Say this about Jason Whitlock, the controversy-courting columnist for FoxSports, he knows that Canadians have Internet connections too.
Not only does he brilliantly pepper an eviscerating Chris Bosh take down with a Dave Semenko reference; he labels T-Zero as White Vegas.
The gist of his argument is that Bosh was able to pump up his statistics and reputation in seven years in Toronto because opposing big men were too distracted by the city's strippers and (you know you're going to make the jump, don't kid yourself)….
The quickest way to debunk the theory would be to point out that Brad Miller's splits against the Raptors aren't much different than his career averages.
Seriously, while Toronto's party zone reputation has been reasonably well-established thanks in no small part to this hostess who seems pretty dialed in to NBA players desire for something different on the road, Whitlock's a bit off-base.
For example, he describes Bosh as a homeless man's Dirk Nowitzki:
"a perimeter big man who put up inflated scoring and rebounding numbers because when visiting NBA players cross the Canadian border they put far more effort into acquiring condoms, loonies and a strip-club champagne room than their on-court assignments?
On the NBA circuit, Toronto is White Vegas, where jungle fever is celebrated by local strippers and escorts 41 times a year. Toronto is a great city to put up numbers and build a rep."
Salacious stuff, but the numbers don't really hold up. The Nowitzki comparison, for example: Bosh gets a hard time because he's not physical or because he's too perimeter-oriented, but he averaged a robust 8.4 free throw attempts a game last year, sixth in the NBA.
And as for Bosh padding his numbers against opponents softened up by one too many visits to The Brass Rail, that doesn't really hold up either: Bosh shot 53.9 per cent on the road last season and 49.8 at home; his ftree throw attempts, adjusted for minutes played, were better on the road and he scored more too. Only his rebounding numbers were better at home - 15.1 to 13.7 per 48 minutes.
So, while the White Vegas label is a keeper, that portion of the argument not so much.
However, where Whitlock might well be right is his suggestion that a skill-type big man as the third-wheel alongside Wade and LeBron is a bad fit.
Bosh's numbers are way down this season, and opposing big men's stats are way up: Last night Paul Millsap went off for 46 points as Utah pushed Miami to overtime before losing. On Friday, Emeka Okafor, a pretty ordinary big, made 12-of-13 field goals, scored 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a Heat loss to New Orleans.
Whitlock's suggestion is that the Heat will recognize this deficiency and flip Bosh for added bulk and toughness.
Only then, he says, will the party in Miami really get off the ground.
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