Derrick Rose is now shooting 4/18 in international play against some of the lower caliber teams in the tournament. While Bulls fans debate about whether Derrick Rose is rusty, has lost it, or can't play FIBA ball, I'll throw out one more alternative. He simply can't play as a low usage player.
Some guys simply need the ball in their hands all the time to get a proper feel for the game or to shoot comfortably. Some guys simply can't make it as secondary players. I think Derrick Rose is such a guy.
There's been a lot of discussion about whether Rose is playing the right way or not. He's deferring to everyone else and for the most part isn't looking to create his own offense at all. Some star players could still do well in spots like that. I'd bet Kevin Durant or Dirk Nowitzki would handle that role just fine.
Tim Duncan has seamlessly gone from a high usage player to a lower usage player as he's aged. Kevin Garnett was still effective as a low usage player as he aged as well. Other guys simply lost it when their usage went down. Allen Iverson could never make the transition and countless other stars struggled as well.
Derrick's game has suffered with Team USA as a low usage player, and I suspect that once he starts shooting the ball more frequently his shooting percentage will rise considerably. Right now, it doesn't look like he's cut out to be a role player, and while it appears to be a silly conclusion to draw based on a few FIBA games, it fits in with what we know of Rose's skillset.
He's not a guy with amazing court vision or eyes in the back of the head. He doesn't trick the cameras with fake passes and behind the back looks. Derrick's not a bad ball handler, but he's not regularly dribbling through traffic like Steve Nash and able to simply get wherever he wants without picking up his dribble.
He's not an elite shooter who can just knock down open shots anywhere on the court either.
He's a guy who's best skill is beating his man in one on one situations because he's got an amazing combination of size, strength, and speed that lets him blow past most guys and out muscle the ones who have any hope of staying in front of him.
That's an amazing NBA skill. Perhaps the most important NBA skill. However, it's not one that fits "role player" or "secondary player" well. It's a skill for a guy who's going to have the ball in his hands as the primary offensive initiator.
Beyond his greatest strengths fitting an alpha role more, it's possible that his supporting skills like shooting are considerably better when he has a higher usage. We've seen him struggle to knock down open shots, but shooting infrequently is a hell of a lot harder than shooting frequently. It's what makes guys like Kyle Korver so rare.
The ability to not shoot much all game and then knock down open shots without getting much chance to build a rhythm is a rare thing. Derrick hasn't been able to do it for Team USA, but that shouldn't be surprising given he's not an elite shooter [it's also been a small sample size, so we shouldn't judge too harshly].
So I suspect Derrick Rose won't age gracefully and while this may sound awful, but it's really not.
It means while Derrick Rose is a superstar, he's going to be awesome, but he'll probably go from superstar to not good rather quickly. It might mean a couple bad years on the books for Rose, similar to the ending of Stephen Marbury or Steve Francis's careers.
However, in terms of building a contender? Once Rose isn't a superstar it's sort of irrelevant whether he's able to be good, because good players don't win titles, great players do.
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