The OMG-the-point-guard-took-32-shots meme directed toward Derrick Rose is in full effect. It has its place in the basketball conversation, but implies him as a destructive force to his own team with more reasonable doubt than is presented.
Derrick Rose's 32 shots in Game 4 have generated controversy, only because the #1-seed Bulls lost, and their series against the East's #5-seed is reduced to a best-of-three. No one's actually got the balls to say Rose "shot the Bulls out of the game," though, and there's a reason for that: he didn't take shots away from a better player. Until you're ready to show where his teammates are creating opportunities off the ball and he's ignoring them, the narrative is useless.
That said, it's worth scrutinizing, as only three other players have dominated the ball to attempt 30 shots in a game with 10-plus assists and they both also lost (ESPNChicago.com). But Rose's 47.1% usage rate was actually less in Game 4 than the 50.5% he posted in the 44-point Game 3 where everyone said he was amazing and deserved statues and trophies and billboards and blowjobs and shit.
"When he's making the plays and scoring, everyone is saying how great he is," Tom Thibodeau said on Monday (K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune). "He was aggressive. I didn't have any problem with the way he played. He kept driving."
I'm with Matt McHale on this, who wrote in his recap (By the Horns):
Everybody is at fault. Thibs is at fault for not running more plays that get players other than Rose good looks. Rose's teammates are at fault for not being more aggressive, getting open, and calling for the ball. And Rose is at fault for not generating more offense for the other guys wearing red jerseys.
The Bulls grabbed offensive rebounds at a strong .293 rate, but only converted for ten second chance points. Boozer had a strong game with the ball in his hands, but Al Horford and Josh Smith did a pretty damn good job in the fourth quarter to deny those hands from getting that ball. I'm not repeating the stat-lines of the shooters who bricked 3-pointers like the rim was a rigged carnival booth, nor am I giving Rose a pass, as Johnson added:
ESPN Stats and Information released this intriguing statistic: On 25 possessions, Rose never passed after crossing halfcourt or receiving an inbounds pass. On those, Rose shot 7-for-22 and drew three fouls, scoring 21 points.On the other hand, Rose after passing went 5-for-10 and scored 13 points and assisted on 22 other points.The Bulls struggled badly from beyond the arc again, going just 3-for-16. Kyle Korver's shot was off. So was Luol Deng's. And the Bulls are at their best when Rose is aggressive.Rose did finish with 10 assists on a night the Bulls shot just 41 percent. And it's not like the Bulls will change their reliance on Rose at this stage.
Did Rose get ten assists, despite his teammates shooting .435 (20-for-46) from the floor and brick 11-of-13 3-pointers? Yes. Should he have passed more for Noah, Boozer, or Korver to man the point while Rose creates off the ball? Definitely. Did Rose significantly alter the outcome of the game by shooting too much? I dare you to say yes with alternative options that don't point the finger at his coach and teammates, save it for the Russell Westbrook conversations. (And even those are letting Kevin Durant off the hook.)