Raptors overview: Rooks have any bite?

Toronto Raptors overview

Updated: October 4, 2005, 4:25 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com

Editor's Note: To preview training camp and the 2005-06 season, John Hollinger addresses three key questions concerning the Raptors.

1. Can Chris Bosh stay at center without getting killed?

The good news is the Raptors have one of the most promising big men in basketball.

Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh is taking flight as a star in Toronto.

The bad news is he might not be in one piece by the time he hits his prime. Rail-thin Chris Bosh has been pressed into service as a center for much of his career, and this season he may play the middle even more than he did in the past.

With last year's selection of Rafael Araujo turning into a disaster and NBA nomads like Aaron Williams and Loren Woods providing the only other centers on the roster, it will be up to Bosh to man the middle despite giving up 50 pounds to his opponent on a nightly basis.

Coach Sam Mitchell has tried to shield Bosh from some of the effects by playing a lot of zone defenses, but more often than not it's still Bosh who has to fight a 270-pound behemoth in the post and block him out on the glass. The question is how much wear and tear that produces on the Raptors' best player.

Bosh averaged 16.8 points and 8.9 points as a 20-year-old last season, and thus far he has managed to hold up to the pounding in the paint. But there could be a cumulative effect from all the pounding, especially if he gets less relief this year.

Finally, there's another aspect to consider: Will Bosh want to stay a Raptor when he becomes a free agent in two years if he's continually subjected to such punishment?

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