MIAMI — In Chris Bosh’s rankings, he’s right at the top. But Bosh doesn’t get to vote for himself.
The Miami Heat center will find out Thursday night if he’ll be named to his eighth consecutive NBA All-Star Game. Or will he be watching the game on TV for the first time since 2005?
“I have the ultimate confidence in myself,” Bosh said after Wednesday night’s 123-116 overtime win over Toronto when asked if he considers himself a no-brainer for the Eastern Conference squad. “That has never been an issue throughout my lifetime. I feel I’m one of the best players in the league. Whether it’s debatable or not, I really don’t care. It’s about what I think and that’s it.”
Bosh, who has been named as a reserve for all but one of his All-Star berths, is facing more competition than usual for a spot. There are plenty of candidates after frontcourt players LeBron James of Miami, Carmelo Anthony of New York and Kevin Garnett of Boston were named starters last week.
In determining reserves for the Feb. 17 game in Houston, East coaches voted for three frontcourt players, two guards and two players at any position. So in a conference that isn’t that deep at guard, as many as five frontcourt players could be selected.
Bosh’s competition includes Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng of Chicago, Paul Pierce of Boston, Tyson Chandler of New York, Brook Lopez of Brooklyn, Josh Smith of Atlanta and Paul George and David West of Indiana. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who couldn’t vote for any of his own players, is undeterred
“I think it will happen,” Spoelstra said of Bosh again being named an All-Star. “I really do. I think everybody around the league recognizes his talent. That’s why he’s been a multi-year All-Star.”
Bosh, who averaged career highs of 23.9 points and 10.8 rebounds with Toronto in 2009-10 before joining the Heat, doesn’t have the gaudy stats he once did. Bosh is averaging 17.3 points, on pace to be the lowest since his rookie season of 2003-04, and 7.2 rebounds, in line to be a career low.
Bosh’s scoring has been affected by being alongside future Hall of Famers James, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen. That’s one reason Bosh is taking the fewest shots per game he has since 2004-05, the last season he wasn’t an All-Star.
“I’m more of a why-can’t-you-have-both kind of guy,” said Bosh, when asked if he has no problem if his taking a lesser role results in a second consecutive championship at the expense of another All-Star berth.
Bosh on Wednesday shot 3-of-7 from the field and 6-of-12 from the line for a pedestrian 12 points. But he did have 12 rebounds, his first game in double figures since grabbing 16 on Dec. 29 at Milwaukee.
James took to Twitter last week to try to get Bosh named an All-Star starter. Now, he’s voicing his support for Bosh to be tabbed a reserve.
“He’s one of the best players in the Eastern Conference,” James said. “He’s a big-time player for us. He’s at 18 (points) and seven (rebounds). There’s not too many guys who are doing that.”
Bosh’s only amendment to what James said might be that he’s one of the best players in all of the NBA.