LeBron vs. Bosh

I think this may be a big topic of contention entering the 2010 free agency.  LeBron is the best player available but Bosh is extremely good still and fits the dire need for a post presence that the Bulls so desperately want.  Perhaps two questions come to the forefront:  which player does a better job of making players around him better and which player will fit better with the pieces the Bulls already have?  Let's address question one first.

Team Player           Year         USG         PER
MIL Williams 2007 24.32 16.3
MIL Williams 2008 22.18 16.99
CLE Williams 2009 23.36 17.21
CLE Williams 2010 22.68 16.23
TOR Parker 2007 15.78 14.57
TOR Parker 2008 17.37 14.45
TOR Parker 2009 16.27 12.17
CLE Parker 2010 11.7 9.28
PHO O'Neal 2008 21.32 16.58
PHO O'Neal 2009 24.17 22.3
CLE O'Neal 2010 25.25 18.28
ORL Hedo 2008 24.8 17.83
ORL Hedo 2009 23 14.88
TOR Hedo 2010 18.53 13.53
POR Jack 2008 19.24 12.98
IND Jack 2009 18.5 13.07
TOR Jack 2010 17.2 14.3
GSW Bellinelli 2009 19.34 11.84
TOR Bellinelli 2010 20.29 12.86

Above is a list of players that played with other teams before playing with LeBron or Bosh.  I have shown their USG and PER.  Let's start with the Cavs.

Mo Williams seems to have remained pretty much the same playing with LeBron.  He is still a high USG solid PER player.  He had his best and worst PER years with LeBron.  I don't see anything that seems to imply that Williams improved at all by playing with LeBron.  Anthony Parker is a different story.  It is challenging to say whether he has stayed the same or gotten worse.  His USG is certainly way down, which is not a surprise, but his PER dropped with it!  It is possible that this is due to age and it is also possible that since Parker does shoot plenty of threes, that he needs to be getting more attempts to keep his PER up.  He is averaging 6 FGA this year, but has been closer to 10 in previous years.  This is difficult to determine.  Shaq is an even tougher call.  It does not look like he was made any better certainly.  Compared to the previous year (although it may have been a fluke) his USG is up but his PER is down.  This is not a trend one wants to see from a big man.  No on to the Raptors.

Hedo's PER has been declining since before he got to Toronto.  However, he is either getting a bit smarter about it or simply dropping in USG because he has Bosh on the team.  While his PER dropped slightly, his USG dropped considerably as well.  The ratio is better, but he is still not really a better player.  Jack and Bellinelli on the other hand are both very interesting.  It is important to see improvement since both are still relatively young and perhaps this effect was expected, but both players have shown improvements with Bosh.  Jack has expecially.  His USG is down and PER is up!  He is certainly making the most of his opportunities. 


Conclusion:  I'll be the first to admit, there is not much difference seen here.  Perhaps what we can learn is that aside from growing with age and experience, a player "is what they is" and there is not much a star can do to change that.  If I had to give the edge in this first question, I'd give it to Bosh.  Two young players showed improvement when paired with him.  However, I think these results simply put more emphasis on the the last question, who fits the Bulls needs?

What are the Bulls needs?  The Bulls are next to last in Offensive Effeciency. Bulls need effecient scoring.  However they are a pretty solid team defensively, so no downgrades there and we should be ok.  The Bulls are a solid rebounding team, so again, same deal.  The Bulls are dead last in FG% at the rim, near the bottom in long midrange jumpers as well as threes.  The Bulls could use someone who scores well from all three of these places or at least two out of the three and then use another free agent signing to fill the other.  Don't underestimate the value of a good long midrange shooter because while these shots are not ideal, they are often the result of a pick and pop situation.  Let's look at the two players in question.

Player A: TS% - 61.2%; RIM% - 73.8%; Long% - 40%; e3PT% - 54.2% 

Player B TS% - 59.7%; RIM% - 63.6%; Long% - 43%; e3PT% - 60% 

Perhaps you would not have guessed, but LeBron is A and Bosh is B.  LeBron is more effecient and finishes better at the rim.  However, the one thing you notice is that LeBron's attempts are far more likely to be unassisted than Bosh.

My conclusion:  Both players would fill the Bulls needs well, but LeBron is clearly the better player.  However, do we want to players on the team that both take mostly unassisted shots?  Could LeBron and Rose work well together or is the Rose/Bosh tandem easier?  Personally, I think the Rose/Bosh combo is easier to work with.  Rose still gets to dominate the ball, but Bosh gets to be the man.  It will be interesting to see what happens.  I think both players can work well and I certainly hope we get one of them, along with a coach that can mesh their unique skills with players already in place.

P.S. - I am always open to suggestions on better stats to use, better analysis techniques etc.  Hope you enjoyed.

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