Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Future of Rose

Injury worries aside (which, seeing as Rose has yet to miss a game, I would say are fairly premature), the future of Derrick Rose is...wait for it...pretty bright. But just how bright?

Basketball Prospectus' Anthony Macri tried to game it out today, and the post is full of stuff that should warm our hearts. It should be read in full, but here's his conclusion:

Rose simply does not fit into the traditional point guard designation all too well. The best player to use in comparison with Rose's unique combination of size, speed, approach, skills and talent for his position is a small forward: one named LeBron James.

Like James, Rose is a more than capable scorer, particularly as a finisher in the lane. His dribble his high but forceful, he is continuously moving in straight attack lines, pushing the ball in transition after a rebound, and using his strength and body control to absorb contact and covert baskets despite the foul. LeBron is so unique--a point guard in a power forward's body with a small forward's athleticism--that it may be hard to see the resemblance between the ways he and Rose approach the game. However, if you watch long enough, you begin to see the similarity in cadence, in the way they play the game.

That does not mean we should project James' success onto Rose. However, we can scale it down to see something similar. First, over the course of this season, expect Rose to improve, but for him to have major bouts with inconsistency as he sees different defenses and as his teammates adjust to playing with him. Del Negro will also have an impact here, as he learns his place and role as their head coach. In the long term, it looks unlikely from early returns that Rose will ever be a 20-point 10-assist guy, like Chris Paul. However, he could be a 25-point, eight-assist, six-rebound "Jason-Kidd-on-steroids" type of player, with multiple double-doubles as he continues to mature.

Like I said, pretty heartwarming. However, I think it's probably too soon to say that Rose will not be able to play as a more prototypical, perhaps "Chris Paul-on-steroids" point guard. It seems to me that there are two pretty strong explanations as to why Rose has looked to be more of a freakish scorer/finisher than facilitator.

Number one, as Macri sort of hints at, the Bulls simply need scoring from anywhere they can get it, and one of the best, most efficient ways for them to get it comes from Rose. That leads into the second reason, which is simply that, aside from Gordon and Nocioni, the rest of the team surrounding Rose has been pretty terrible, in particular our frontcourt.

To take just one example, in the second half of the Phoenix game last Friday, I noticed that Rose initiated a nice pick-and-roll with Joakim Noah at the top of the key. It looked very similar to the ones that Paul executes so well alongside Tyson Chandler, in that as Rose came off the pick and drove hard to the lane, both defenders had to commit to him in order to stop a free drive to the hoop. When this happens with Paul, he usually flips a lob pass in the air to a slightly trailing Chandler, who drives it home with a rim-rattling dunk. Rose attempted to do the same thing with Noah, but...Noah wasn't cutting with him and so the pass went sailing out of bounds. (You could tell Rose was simultaneously pissed off and stunned at Noah's complete lack of basketball IQ.)

To some extent, this might just be an aspect of Bulls players learning Rose's game and realizing just how easy he can make it for them. But I think we also have to look at the fact that one of the reasons Rose's assists aren't as high as they could be is that our frontcourt is playing absolutely horrible. Compare the eFG% of the Bulls' 3, 4, and 5 positions this year with New Orleans' from last year. They're not even close, and it's no wonder that, aside from having years of experience on Rose, Paul's assist level is so much higher. If Rose was playing alongside Tyson Chandler, Peja Stojakovic and David West, instead of Noah, Gooden, Tyrus and a slumping Deng, my guess is he'd be looking like a much better distributor.


Blogger CoachSkiles said...

I've been listening to ESPN radio on the commute home lately, and yesterday they had a segment on what has been the biggest mistake of Paxson's tenure as GM. Votes went to signing Deng this off-season for too much money, some went to drafting Ty, some went to signing Big Ben.

I vote for drafting Ty. I do want to love him, but Aldridge would be pretty nice to have at the 4 right now. Yeah, I know he's not a great rebounder, but he can do a lot of other things well.

Thoughts on Pax's biggest blunder to date?

2:02 PM  
Blogger BenGo07 said...

This should've been a full-on post, you lazy bastard.

To me, it's Wallace. Period. As dismal as Tyrus has been this year, he still has the potential and skill set to turn it around. In another two years, I might be willing to change my mind, but right now, Wallace.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Coach Skiles said...

I'm counting Big Ben as a Reisndorf move.

4:19 PM  
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4:02 AM  

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