Who’s Better: Amar’e Stoudemire or Chris Bosh?

10.21.10 8 years ago 58 Comments

We argue. You decide.

Long before they were the two most coveted power forwards in the 2010 free agency class, Amar’e and Bosh were linked together and compared head-to-head.

In the 2002 McDonald’s All-American Game, Amar’e and Bosh arrived on the mainstream scene as high school superstars. Amar’e went straight to the NBA after that game — where he’d become the first prep-to-pro to win Rookie of the Year — while Bosh went to Georgia Tech for a year before the Toronto Raptors drafted him No. 4 overall in ’03, arguably the most talented draft class of all-time.

Their careers have been neck-and-neck when it comes to stats, but one has an edge that goes beyond numbers. And as they get set to begin the next chapter of their careers with new teams and in new roles, it’s safe to say Amar’e is just a notch better than Bosh.

Amar’e is a special breed of forward. One of the qualities that makes him unique is his ability to run the floor. Bosh is no match in this category. Amar’e doesn’t need the ball too long to get his numbers. Granted, he was running with the League’s best point guard, Steve Nash, for most of his career, but Amar’e still had to get himself open in order to benefit from Nash’s passing. His off-ball movement and ability to finish better than any NBA big man at the rim makes Amar’e more efficient as a scorer. For his career, Stoudemire’s field-goal percentage just over 54 percent, while Bosh’s is at 49 percent. Bosh needs to dominate the ball to do his dirty work on the offensive end.

On the defensive end, it’s a toss-up. Neither is really a dominant force, but if I’m coming down the lane, I would be more wary of Stoudemire than Bosh. Stoudemire is just more explosive off the floor than Bosh. He has a slight edge in blocks, swatting 1.4 shots per night opposed to Bosh’s 1.2, but Stoudemire also has an intimidation factor defensively that Bosh doesn’t.

When it comes to postseason success, experience is everything. Amar’e has played in more meaningful playoff games. After years of going up against Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan, Stoudemire is battle-tested in the postseason. He’s been to the conference finals and dropped 40-point games on the big stage. Bosh has just two playoff appearances under his belt, which resulted in only three total wins.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong either way in choosing Bosh or Amar’e. They are both high-scoring fours who don’t always bring it on the defensive end. But when it comes to building a winner, Amar’e just has more intangibles than Bosh and has the experience.

There’s this guy on the Phoenix Suns. He plays point guard, has long floppy hair, pretty good passer. It’s Steve Nash, if you still couldn’t guess.

Anyway, Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire were teammates for six seasons. In those six seasons, both players put up gaudy numbers. Numbers that made each a household name and a fantasy basketball machine. The pick-and-roll is where this duo made their living. Nash and Amar’e feasted on teams that couldn’t defend it. With their “run and gun” style of offense, the Suns appeared in the playoffs five times in six years, but never once came away with a Western Conference title. Simply put, Stoudemire’s game is not built for the postseason. When the game slows down and defenses tighten up, Amar’e struggles. At those times, the frantic, up-and-down pace the Suns like to play is ineffective.

Notice the words I used in that last paragraph, “both,” “combo,” “duo.” Amar’e has had the luxury of playing with one of the best point guards in the NBA for six of his eight years in the League, including Nashs’ back-to-back MVP seasons in ’05 and ’06. Yes, Amar’e is a beast. Heck, the guy basically lives on SportsCenter’s Top 10.

But we’ve never seen him have to get his on his own. We don’t know if Amar’e has the ability to carry a team on his back. To step up and win a game by himself. To lead a team to the playoffs single-handedly. What we do know, however, is that Amar’e is a great No. 2 option. A Robin to someone’s Batman. Chris Bosh, on the other hand, is definitely the Batman type.

Meet Chris Bosh, a 6-11, 235-pound big man who literally can do everything on the basketball court. Wesson is Chris’s middle name, but it should be “Versatile.” An argument could be made that Bosh in the most skilled big man in the entire League. Just ask Pacers’ head coach Jim O’Brien.

“We’ve tried over the years to put big guys on him. It doesn’t work,” O’Brien told the Toronto Sun after his team suffered a January loss at the hands of Bosh. “We’ve tried to put small guys on him. It doesn’t work. I don’t know if we have somebody to play Bosh, to tell you the truth.”

Since 2005, Bosh has averaged 22.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, all the while maintaining a cool 50 percent accuracy from the field. He is a five time All-Star and unlike other big men, he’s not a liability from the line (80% FT). He single-handedly took the lowly Raptors to the playoffs in back to back years (’07, ’08) and has a special knack for raising his level of play in big games. In the ’08 playoffs, Bosh averaged a career-high 24 ppg and 9 rpg. In the ’08 Olympics, he averaged 9 ppg with limited minutes on a loaded roster, and also lead the team in boards with 6.1 per game.

The numbers are there, but that’s not my argument. My argument is this: Amar’e Stoudemire got Steve Nash for six years. Bosh got Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack. Amar’e was coached by one of the NBA’s most innovative offensive minds. Bosh got Sam Mitchell and Jay Triano. Bosh is a better defender, rebounder, free-throw shooter, jump shooter, ball handler, and all-around scorer. Amar’e is a better dunker. If you want a player on your team to annihilate someone and make SportsCenter’s Top 10, then Amar’e is your guy. If you want a multi-skilled big man who can score in a variety of ways, lead your team, rebound and defend, then Bosh is your guy.

I’ll take the guy whose offense doesn’t depend on a screen, then a perfect bounce pass from one of the best point guards in the NBA.

Who do you think is better?

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