Derrick Rose needs to be a high usage player

Derrick Rose needs to be a high usage player

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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  • I've always contended that D Rose's addition to the squad was an ataboy to Thibodeau and the NBA as a whole.

    If given the choice, with all skills being equal...D Rose is going to defer. He's an alpha male and a killer w/o question....but given the wealth of shooters/scorers around him...he doesn't see the point of forcing the issue. As such...I think this FIBA competition is basically summer school for the AP classes he'll be taking in the fall.

    That being said....the team would be better with Lillard but I'm glad D Rose is there. This season has a chance to be pretty epic. Hell...even Pau dropped 33 because he was excited!

  • Doug - I think you're absolutely right about Rose. I was hoping that the few years he got away from the game would change the way he would play. That he would be more cerebral, that he would prioritize efficiency over the spectacular play, that he would look for the easy bucket rather than relying on his physical gifts (speed/strength combo). I just dont think Rose will ever be that player. I dont know if it is stubbornness or pride on his part (trying to prove people wrong about his injuries) or if it is just how he's wired. Either way, it means that Rose's trajectory is one that will peak brilliantly for a short time but suddenly regress and thats all only if he is able to stay healthy going forward.

    If Rose would stop trying to prove the haters/doubters wrong and try to relish the opportunity to make his teammates better by playing to their strengths, then he can save himself physically and mentally and exert himself into portions of games that need his leadership. He's finally got shooters and he's got reliable and skilled bigs. He can make this season as easy or difficult as he wants for himself depending on the way he chooses to the play the game. I guess all we can do is hope for the best.

  • Look, if you're all rah, rah about the Bulls and Derrick Rose this season then you may not want to read this because you're sure as hell not going to agree with it.

    Analyzing Derrick Rose or any player you can point to their skill set or their mindset as in "needs to be high usage" etc. Sure those are all valid. But where a player or performer is mentally, especially one who has experienced great success even for a limited time, is very important also.

    Right now if you watch Derrick's herky jerky I hate to say spaz style of play with Team USA, but clearly he appears uncomfortable as a player right now. Sure he's rusty that's part of it, but he's also a guy who has had two major knee injuries back to back and that has to be mentally jarring. We all can see Derrick is not exactly a carouser in social settings outside his own team and cadre of friends or inner circle. Who knows what kind of misguided advice he's getting through all this turmoil from "the family" aka Reggie Rose.

    To me, if you would have put a young Derrick with a Pop, a Phil, a Larry Brown, or even a Doc Rivers, I think that would have helped him mentally in his development being grounded as a person. I don't think a social neophyte like Tom Thibodeau is that kind of mentor or counselor if you will. If I were a friend of Derrick Rose I would have wanted him to not resign with the Bulls, unless it's just about the money. I would have rather he go to a strong personality as that is what a sheltered young phenom like him needed most.

    Even from a tactical stand point I don't think Tom Thibodeau did Derrick any favors in guiding his game in shooting .396 in his run to the ECF. He far too many times just let him trudge the ball up court into waiting double teams which was just murder to his game. Not to mention Gar/Pax with Brewer, Bogans as his sandbag back court mates.

    We'll see how things go this year with the Bulls. Myself I have my doubts things are going to end well for Derrick here in Chicago. Hopefully I'll be proven wrong. Derrick was I think a happy guy, though also confused as a person. Now, I'm not sure he's on a very good path right now.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Who wouldn't do better with a guy like Pop or Phil? Thibs is a great coach, but he's not in their stratosphere. Personally, I think Doc is over-rated and if the Clips can't get past the 2nd round this year people will see this. Doc has not been worth a crap without Thibs. I would put Coach K in the "elite coach group" and that's why I think his presence on Team USA can only be a huge positive.

    I think the Bulls roster is more of a reason for his 0.396 shooting and lack of offensive help. However, I do think that Rose slowly walking the ball up needs to end - simply because the offensive set starts with only 15-18 seconds on the shot clock instead of like 20. Tony Parker and the Spurs is a great example.

    I think that what you're saying is that Rose is an introvert and socially a bit awkward. Most would agree and that's a pretty good way to put it without offending his intelligence.

    My two cents is that Rose is just "happy to be here" and his Team USA goals are just to improve conditioning and get a feel for the game after two years off. He may be on the team for political reasons, but let's be clear, if TEAM USA does not win, it's not because of the decision to keep Rose. Rose should be inconsistent at this point, but hopefully he has a couple games that make you feel like he's still got it. (6-8 shooting for 15-18 points would be nice at least once...)

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    In reply to RoadWarrior:

    You lost me @ "Look". Personally, I think the Bulls did an excellent job bringing Derrick Rose along slowly, and Thibodeau has been in front of the media defending Rose throughout Derrick's dark days when doctors gave him the green light to play, while Rose refused to because he didn't feel ready.
    I know where your concerns come from, but I have to strongly disagree with Phil Jackson who played Jordan, & Pippen to death, Larry Brown, or Doc Rivers doing a better job than Thibodeau has with Rose. Thibs is sitting on the sidelines monitoring Rose's mins as we post, giving him enough time to feel good about himself mentally while keeping his mins to a minimum. imo

  • If what Doug writes is true, and it seems reasonable to me, Melo never would have worked out here because he's a high-usage type as well.

    I feel like for 2 years, many Bulls fans have been hoping to see Derrick change his game to more of a Chris Paul type but that's just not who he is, nor would be all that great playing that way. Let's instead hope he can be healthy enough to get his old game back, he was MVP after all.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yes, I think this calls into question how well he'd play with a Melo type on the team. Maybe just one other star would be small enough that he wouldn't defer so much or maybe not.

  • Low usage? You mean he should be the first option?

  • "So I suspect Derrick Rose won't age gracefully." Funny you brought that up, I was debating with some guys at work on that very topic. it all started with wondering if Gasol is going to be any good at 34, and it made me wonder what kind of player Rose will be at 34. Many people are looking at Gasol as not that great a pickup or only a slight improvement over Boozer but I beg to differ. There are 2 types of players in NBA; Finesse and athletic types. Rose is an Athletic player and Gasol is a finesse. The problem with Rose is his skill heavily relies on his athleticism. Once his athleticism starts to fade or injuries build up he doesn't appear to have much skill. This is inevitable with age and very few stars with that skill set ages gracefully unless they are able to switch up their game to a more finesse type like both Jordan and Pippen towards the ladder end of their career. Gasol however I feel still has a few good years left in him because his game doesn't rely much on athleticism at all. He knows how to use his size, length, and experience in place of athleticism. When you watch him play sometimes he appears to have a very flukey style of play but it works for him and he knows exactly what he's doing. Most of his game is all pure skill ( finesse ) and that translates good with age especially considering he's always been that kind of player.

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    In reply to ajaychitown:

    You guys do know he's 25 right? And at 25 you're going to accurately predict the trajectory of someone's sports career? Do you know what kind of player Jordan was at 25? He was PURE athleticism. I'd argue even more so in Rose, looking at how he constantly went for above the rim finishes above opponents and through them to prove his power. It wasn't until Jordan entered his 30's and came back from the first retirement that he put an emphasis on shooting and finesse. The reason why players like Chris Paul etc don't "use athleticism" as much is for one simple reason: they're not that athletic (in comparison to other NBA players). They HAVE to find other ways to be productive. And just like any other talented player (and if you believe Rose is talented and not just athletic) they adapt when the time comes. Lets enjoy this athletic version of Rose while we have it. Right now, a Rose who can blow past defenders, finish above the rim, finish through defenders, is EXACTLY what our CURRENT roster needs.

  • In reply to David Nwachukwu:

    Chris Paul was one of the quickest players in the NBA, and he still never relied nearly as much on his athleticism. We've been robbed of seeing what Rose might have developed into due to injuries, so it's always tough to say.

    However, right now, his skill level at 25 doesn't project out great, and two knee injuries means his athletic decline will come sooner rather than later most likely.

    We'll see what Rose can do going forward of course. I could definitely be wrong, but he's 25, and the mechanics on his shot don't ever project out to make him a great shooter. He's never displayed the type of vision Chris Paul had as a rookie in the NBA either.

    It simply doesn't look good. Yes, things could change, but I wouldn't count on it.

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    Bulls Nation had better get used to seeing Rose playing without the ball cause the way he's playing with team USA will be the same way he'll play with the Bulls. He'll play more mins than he had with team USA, but with Thibs 5 man offense, and the additions of Pau, McDermott, Mirotic, and the elite passing skills of Noah, I can envision Rose bringing up the ball past half court and dishing it to Gasol, or Noah then looking for open shooters. Rose will have his moments just as he does with team USA, and hopefully he'll get his timing back so that most of his drives fall in the basket, but overall the Bulls will continue to run a high/low offense.

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    Another good parallel would be Allen Iverson-- he went from superstar to completely out of the league very fast because he could not play as a productive bench player. The only difference is that Rose is also team USA's best defensive guard, which matters.

  • As theories on Rose's subpar play go this is pretty plausible. One would hope he can find a comfortable middle ground. He may not be getting enough touches with Team USA to hit rhythm, but he won't survive 82 games of his pre-acl usage rates either. And if ever there was a time for the Bulls to let the ball out of Rose's hands a little more it's this season, with this cast. He's got great pick and roll partners, tremendous shooters, and a good array of backup guards that can allow him to work off the ball. It's time for D-Rose to share the wealth and the responsibility a lot more than he has in the past.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    I agree, but this is on Thibs more than on Rose. The roster has 10 guys who should see a good amount of court time!

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