Bosh will be big free-agent catch

STRAIGHT SHOOTING

There's no question that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the first and second most impactful free-agents to-be. It's just as obvious that Chris Bosh is next on the list.

Let's take a close look at Bosh's game.

At 6-10, and even though he's buffed up to 230, he's long, lean and left-handed. He's always had a quick first step going left, and he's worked to go right (for at most two dribbles) nearly as speedily. Bosh loves setting up near the right baseline where he can take his left hand to the middle and can also approach the rim from there with his off hand. When driving left into the middle, Bosh has also greatly improved a right-handed layup that's delivered into the body of his opponent and invariably draws a foul. What Bosh needs, though, are more options when receiving the ball anywhere on the left wing.

Lefty jump hooks are one of his potent weapons, but Bosh mostly relies on his jump shots. He can pull, spin, and/or fade with equal success -- although his effective range is limited to 17-18 feet. Moreover, Bosh is attacking the basket more than ever (averaging a career-high 8.8 free throws per game), which is a significant reason why his points-per-game production has improved to a career-high 24.3.

In most cases, he's still too much of a lightweight to establish and hold prime position deep in the pivot. But, because of his jumper, Bosh is extremely dangerous when assuming a mid- to high-post spot.

A willing passer, Bosh is also prone to missing his target, which is why he has more turnovers (2.4) than assists (2.2).

Bosh is a quick jumper, and is one of those thin, slithery guys who's hard to box out. No surprise, then, that his current rebound numbers (11.5) are the best of his career. However, he can be (and often is) bodied out of rebound contention and must therefore rely on his mobility and quick ups -- which is why he rarely captures heavy-duty rebounds in tight quarters.

Bosh can also get out and go like a guard and is a potent finisher on the run.

He's a slightly above-average weak-side helper, but his leansome physique makes him vulnerable to being bullied by bigger, stronger opponents, especially in the low post.

Because he's strictly a finesse player, albeit an excellent one, Bosh would benefit by being paired with a strong-armed big man who could corral the tough rebounds. If the proposed big was also capable of hitting mid-range jumpers, Bosh would still have sufficient room to operate with the middle open.

Because of his lack of power, Bosh is not a franchise player. But pair him with the likes of Tim Duncan, Luis Scola, Yao Ming, Marc Gasol or Nene, and Bosh would be a championship-caliber player.

Perhaps the reason why virtually all of Bosh's numbers are up is because he's playing for a colossal contract. Even so, Bosh will be a terrific consolation prize for any team that tries and fails to sign either LBJ or D-Wade.

VOX POPULI

What sacrifices -- besides implementing Mayan rules -- would be required to make the All-Star game competitive and interesting? Like you, I see no reason for anybody to lose his head over the current NBA spectacle. -- David Peterzell, San Diego, CA

In lieu of the losers being decapitated, here are two suggestions to make the game more interesting.

• Pitting an All-Star lefty team against a righty team. The former would feature such players as Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobili, Derek Fisher, David Lee, C.J. Miles, Todd Murphy, Lamar Odom, Zach Randolph, Michael Redd, Josh Smith, Beno Udrih, Delonte West and Thaddeus Young. It should be noted that up until about the 17th Century, left-handed people were believed to be spawns of the devil, primarily because Judas was a southpaw. So the game would have an overtone of a morality play, i.e., good versus evil.

• This has been suggested many times by many people, but how about an American-born squad against foreign-born players? Andrea Bargnani, Andrew Bogut, Jose Calderon, Luol Deng, Pau and Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Ben Gordon, Andrei Kirilenko, Steve Nash, Nene, Dirk Nowitzki and Luis Scola. To make matters more interesting, play the game with international rules.

TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY

Just the other day, the showers in the men's locker room at the Kingston YMCA was being re-tiled, so all of the Y guys were detoured to the boy's locker room. With the lower showerheads and urinals, and the smaller lockers, I had a dejà vu flash of playing a road game.

Postgame showers have their own mythic history. For example, the avoidance of the same by Wilt Chamberlain, who famously doused his still-sweating body with cologne before heading out into the pleasures of the evening.

When the Albany Patroons played in the Washington Avenue Armory, the only available showers (and toilets) were in the public men's room down the hall from the team's locker room. Players had to thread their way through the postgame crowd wearing only flip-flops and a towel.

I've also played in various runs and tournaments that convened in elementary school gyms. Some of these had navel-high showerheads, and some had no working showers at all. But not taking a shower after playing for hours inside a stuffy gym in mid-summer, and then having to ride shoulder-to-shoulder with teammates for an hour or more to get home was unacceptable.

When no functional showers were available, some players simply flushed the toilets and doused their towels in the "fresh" water. I've also seen a few guys wash their hair by dipping their heads in the post-flush collected water. Others flushed the urinals and cupped their hands to catch some of the "clean" running water.

I even saw one player rinse his body from head to toe with cold beer.

For many an amateur hoop-o-maniac, cleanliness is certainly not next to godliness.

If you have a question or comment for Charley Rosen, please email charleyrosen@gmail.com and he may respond in a future column.