A winding journey of Derrick Rose thoughts

I've been known as a Derrick Rose pessimist.  I thought he was a lot more raw than most fans coming out of college.   He didn't play in a system conducive to developing his passing game, his defense was sub-par, and he hadn't developed a consistent jumper.   He had the physicals and ball handling to make a great pro as well as an attitude and work ethic that made him likely to succeed.   We're almost two years into the Derrick Rose experiment, and I like what I see.  I think we all like what we see.  
It's interesting to think back on how we got here, or at least how I got here given that the rest of you believed immediately. 

Derrick came out of the gates dominating the competition.   His jumper was amazing early on as was his ability to finish at the rim.  A month into the season, I thought the Bulls had 5th seed and 47 win potential as they played extremely well through the hard part of the schedule.

Then Derrick slowed down, the Bulls suffered injuries, and the season went completely in the tank.   Derrick's TS% droped from .55 down to .516 by the end of the season largely due to a very rough stretch in the middle as team's adjusted to him.   He then broke out in the first game of the playoffs against Boston, overall having a strong series.

If there was one downside to his rookie campaign it was the struggles in final possession scenarios where he put up an 0-fer on the year despite plenty of attempts.

Going into that off-season, Derrick Rose hype was off the charts.   We all expected him to bust out of the gates right away and tear up the league.   Unfortunately, Derrick's ankle had other ideas.   He was nursing an ankle injury suffered in preseason for quite some time, and while we all knew he was hurt as he continued to play, but play unimpressively, I certainly began to wonder if maybe that summer hype was going too far.

He made it through a month and a half to two months of the season with a TS% under .50 which is really terrible for a volume offensive player.   His defense wasn't much better either, and he seemed to struggle coasting in and out of games looking unstoppable one minute and invisible the next.

Then something happened.  Either the ankle healed, Derrick got sick of losing, his confidence peaked, the coaching staff got to him, whatever it is, everything changed...  Since that point, Derrick's aggression levels have been way up.  He's shooting more, taking over more, scoring more and becoming more clutch.

For all the improvements Rose has made, the biggest one is the shift in mentality.   Becoming an alpha dog when he was initially more comfortable spreading the ball around is a difficult mental shift.   It's one he needed to make if he was to become great, and a change in mentality is a shift few players ever make.   That change alone gives me hope that Rose goes on to become a top 10, possibly top 5 player.

What will we see from Derrick next year?   Who knows?   I think he's trending upwards in both his range and defensive ability, so I expect both to improve next year as well.   He's also been trending up in FTAs though his increased FGAs exaggerate his foul drawing rate, it's still improved year over year.

The one thing I feel certain of, Derrick Rose is a top 20 player.   He's likely to become a top 15 player, and I can finally start to latch on to the hope that he can become a top 10 or even top 5 player.


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  • Welcome aboard.

  • He's making strides, but has along way to go yet.

    - ASSISTS totals are too low.

    - DEFENSE is mediocre at best.

    - REBOUNDING isn't aggressive enough.

    - LEADERSHIP is too quiet on and off the court.

    - He's still a "ROBIN" in search of his inner-"BATMAN".

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Really. How is Rose not piling up the assists in the Vinny Del Negro offensive scheme and with such an assortment of shot-makers at his disposal?

    Anyway, in 12 games since the break, Rose is averaging 25 points and 6 assists on 55% from the floor and 80% from the line.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    To add to what Doug said, the number of assists a team or player gets shows very little correlation to either their wins or offensive efficiency. A prime example this year is Atlanta, one of the best offenses in the league with nobody even cracking 5 assists a game.

    Rebounding is important, but not so much from your point guard. If your bigs are good rebounders you're typically a good rebounding team. If they're not, you're not. Jason Kidd is the best rebounding point guard there is, and the Mavs are an average rebounding team (which has been a typical pattern through Kidd's career).

    If someone told me last year Rose would be described as a mediocre defender I'd be overjoyed. Last year he was one of the worst defenders in the league, so he's made huge progress there.

    I also don't think it's fair to say he's Robin. How much more assertive do you expect him to be? His usage rate (once you take out the low minute guys) is 12th in the league. Other than Durant, nobody ahead of him has been in the league less than 5 years. He's shouldering a huge load already for a young player.

    I think you missed the biggest problem Rose has right now: fouls. He still doesn't draw enough. You can only raise your FG% so far, to be really efficient you need to be good at either shooting threes or getting to the line.

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    In reply to MrHappy:

    Since we got a good head to head the other night, I'm interested to know where you'd put Deron Williams in your rankings? Top 20, top 15..etc?

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    In reply to MrHappy:

    Okay, good list.

    Derrick's line is currently 21 pts, 6 assists, 4 rebounds (hometown rounding). Brandon Roy by comparison is 22, 5, 5. So Derrick's got to be somewhere among those maybes at present.

    So what does he have to do to be top 10?

    To be top 10 in both points and assists he'd have to put up something like 24 and 7. If he gets the free agent we're looking for then I think the 7 is doable but not sure about scoring above 22 (12th in the league). So, hypothetically, where would you rank the kid putting up 22 and 7 a night?

  • So you've currently got D Williams ahead of Rose?
    In fact, Williams and Paul are both ahead of Rose?
    As for Paul, I don't think Paul has played all too well this season. I remember seeing him a couple years ago and thought that guy was by far the best player on the court. Saw him play recently and he went unnoticed. He may be getting by on reputation lately, although I admittedly don't see him play much.
    I don't know if you watch a lot of Hornets games, but watch a quarter or half sometime soon and see if you even notice Paul.

  • Doug, I have to say about your "everybody wanted Ben Wallace" comment the guy was 32 and had his lowest rebounding total in six years in his last year in Detroit/before signing with the Bulls. I'm sure there were some smart G.M.'s who would have seen the writing on the wall(especially at that crazy price). I don't see how you can defend that pursuit and pay of a 32 year old when you yourself are always leary of guys over 31/32. Come on man be fair, and stop canonizing John Paxson. I was fair in saying his draft picks really have been solid in many respects. He's a good guy, but you go overboard. He's shown some major, major flaws with Wallace, and the Hinrich and Noc unrealistic buddy payouts.

    As for Derrick, two things I noticed in the Utah game: 1) Rose got smoked repeatedly on drives by D.Williams(course you could say the same in reverse with D's 25), 2) When Deron wants to get to the line, he explodes into the lane and raises his wrist/arm into contact showing the ball or with a head fake and creates a foul/gets a call. That is sorely lacking in a supposedly premier player in Derrick.

    I know some will disagree, but Derrick's lack of drawing fouls is something I view as a failure by the coaches not just Derrick. If he were with a savvy team like Utah, Miami, Adelman/Houston, or Phil he'd be Required to take advantage of this huge opportunity, and something that diminishes his respect around the league as that is considered prerequisite of a talented/premier scorer of any caliber. No to mention his meek acceptance/verbal void in arguing foul calls with refs as all established scorers Must do!

    I think Derrick's a warrior(subdued somewhat by a lack of coaching acumen/leadership/fire) and a great kid, and he can certainly be a top ten player for a few years/a career peak or two. But he needs a real quality coach to get his sometimes complacent and passive butt to where he needs to be to be truly elite with all the trimmings. And that includes watching the PICK/big on pick and rolls and firing around him not blindly walking into them. This complete failure in Derrick's game I place on the coaches doorstep. Period. The 21 yr old has been screwed in many ways with this lame mentoring/coaching. He'd be light-years ahead right now if he was with one of the other basketball savvy franchises I mentioned. If they don't get a real coach in here a Byron Scott for example(I don't have a problem with the defensive coaches Bobby O. and Pete I suppose), then if I were Derrick's friend I'd tell him to get the hell out of Chicago to one of the fundamentally grounded franchises I mentioned so he can truly be the awesome all around stud currently in waiting.

  • I respect your guys views. The nice thing about this site is that people here do have lives outside of the Bulls/carry themselves with some class/maturity, but still have a passion/care about the game.

    I just wanted to say one other thing about that Utah game. Either I just didn't notice before, but I have never seen more passion and resolve to fight on a coaches face then I saw on Jerry Sloan's face for much of that game(until Utah really pulled away). That is the kind of coach the Bulls need minus the immaturity of a Skiles or the lack of knowledge and somewhat leadership of a Vinny(who I do now respect).

    Derrick, if he can be so fortunate as to get a Sloan, Adelman, Riley(minus the cheap crap) with the passion and knowledge of this game, he will be a great player I have little doubt.

    As an aside, I don't know what Utah's record is against the Lakers or Denver, but I'd be very surprised if they didn't threaten for the Western Conf. championship this year.

  • In reply to SamS:

    In this Jazz game you saw how often was Rose matched up with Williams?

  • While I will defer to you on your contention regarding the Bulls scheme. Rebounding is about effort and mentality, as is defense, and in this area I still find Rose very lacking. It seems to me that an athletic point like Rose should be a good if not great defender, and should be able to rebound at will. Rondo and Westbrook seem to be particulary adept at offensive rebounding without somehow breaking down the teams defense.

    Every time that I see Rondo or Westbrook, I am amazed at how many rebounds that the get simply by seeing an opportunty and going after it.

    IF Rose is not going to be a dominant assist guy, Nash, Paul, Kidd, then he has to excell in some other facet(s) of the game besides just scoring to be a truly elite player, escpecially to make it into the top 10 or 5.

    I think that Rose will get there, he is still overcoming his youth(immaturity), but with proper coaching and hopefully a new found inner drive, ala Michael or Kobe he can be what all the hype has suggested that he already is.

    I think that you have been right all along, Rose has been mostly overated, but we can all see what he can or should be, and he looks to be developing in that direction, despite the early season scare, which was clearly an injury problem.

  • Not sure I'd put today's Duncan ahead of him. Also, if memory serves me, Williams seems to do very well in head to head matchups with Paul.

  • Obviously, you didn't watch the guy playing right next to him last season, at least not on the defensive side of the ball, quite likely the worst defensive player/effort in the history of the NBA.

    I think that Rose is still a bad defender, even by NBA standards, and in order to become a truly elite player, he needs to display the ability to be an elite defender at least when it matters. Ultimately you don't win in the playoffs without everybody, especially your stars committed to defense.

    One of my greatest frustrations with the NBA game is how great althletes like Rose are not great defenders, it seems almost incongruous. The only explanation seems to be lack of effort or desire,and to a lesser extent coaching.

  • "The only guys you're sure to not be screwed on salarywise are ultra short term guys "

    From what I've consistently read and heard, the owners are looking to really lock down the length of contracts going forward in the next CBA. Something in the range of 3-4 years. I think seeing guys sign and immediately decline (Eddy Curry comes to mind) is a big reason why.

    Personally, I'd like to see an NFL style system in place; but I doubt it will happen.

  • I'd go for that deescalation over four years. I'd be very surprised if something that sensible, owner, and really fan friendly was approved/agreed to by the players(association). Maybe they'll have no choice in the end.

  • Good idea, Doug.

    Even if it was 100%, 100%, 50%, 50%, it would give teams flexibility compared to the 5 & 6 year contracts guaranteed at 100%

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    Maybe they are. Check back and see how many guys had CAREER nights against Rose and against Gordon. I'm thinking you'll find Ben the bigger culprit there.

  • I recall someone was keeping stats on every defensive play by the Bulls last year, can't seem to find the link right now. Obviously it was still somewhat subjective because he was grading each play as a positive or negative, but at least he tried to keep a running total so that one bad play wouldn't unfairly bias him against five good ones or anyhing.

    Like I said, can't find the link right now, but I remember Kirk was strongly positive, Gordon was quite positive, and Rose racked up negatives at over twice the rate he racked up positives.

    I really think it is the fact that everyone wants so badly that Rose be a star that's the reason people were overlooking how abysmal he was on defense.

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