With Rose's Three-Point Shooting Trending Terribly Past Last Month, Boozer Needs More Touches

With Rose's Three-Point Shooting Trending Terribly Past Last Month, Boozer Needs More Touches

Once flirting with a highly-efficient 40% success, D-Rose’s long-range shooting has taken a free-fall since early January, regressing toward an embarrassing rate since Feb. 5.

Derrick Rose has deservedly been lauded for working all summer on his shooting. His FT shooting is way up and his mechanics can be shown in an instructional video, but his three-point shooting efficiency has been abysmal over his last 31 days of games.

How abysmal? This:

His eFG% on threes alone has been a potentially destructive .265 since Feb. 5, plummeting his season rate under .500 to .492.

“Rose has been
bricking threes like it’s his job,” I noted in recapping the Bulls’ Monday win over the Hornets. “
Over the 14 games since going 4-for-8 on threes in L.A. against the Clippers on Feb. 2, he’s only shot .176 (12-for-68) from
long-range. After shooting a 3P% of .390 (50-for-128) through
December, his rate has plummeted to .328 on the season, shooting .272 from January through Monday. Since the new year rung in, he’s hit less threes (39) in a higher volume of
attempts (143).

That said, I also added: “Rose — who’s compensating a tad for terrible long-range shooting here — continues his upswing at the FT line,
shooting 6-for-7 on the night. After shooting .897 and .890 in January
and February, he’s hit 17-of-21 in March. He’s now shot .873 at the line
(234-for-268) in the 38 games since Dec. 18, averaging slightly over
seven trips to the charity stripe every night.

I use “compensating” loosely, as Rose’s mid-range shooting is way down as well. According to Hoopdata, he’s only shooting .390 at 16-to-23 feet from the basket — down from .440 last season, but thankfully, with less attempts per game. It’s much more favorable for some of those attempts to move outside than stay where they are, but best they move inside. Rose’s .535 TS% this season is only slightly over the .532 mark of last season and his .464 eFG% is disturbingly below his already-sketchy .495 mark of last season. All of this actually doesn’t compensate for his .442 FG% being under the highly-acceptable-for-a-high-volume-guard .489 of last season.

Again, there’s no question that Rose’s mechanics have take a giant leap from quirky toward textbook. His aggressiveness and fearlessness to take shot when defenses sag off to give him good looks is highly appreciated and shouldn’t be hindered much by coaching. But with the added three points per game is coming not many more successfully converted possessions as his Usage Rate has escalated into the low-30s this season from the previous high-20s.

Boozer’s the most efficient option Rose isn’t optimally utilizing

Rose ‘shooting himself out of a slump’ isn’t a bad thing, as his shooting will be needed in the playoffs, but to more efficiently convert possessions, Carlos Boozer needs more touches in the post. He’s been an easy button for the Bulls as an unstoppable weapon when he gets those touches.

There have been struggles as defenses have pounded him harder, but low-post weapons like this need to have the confidence that they’ll get the ball back after they pass to re-post their body in a more favorable position. Tom Thibodeau highlighted this need for the Bulls offense, outside of any context related to the Bulls shooting, but the points are applicable to Rose’s shooting inefficiencies.

“We have to continue to search him out more,” Thibs said after Monday’s game. “And the one thing, they’re diggin’ down pretty good on him. We still have to get the re-post. We’ve gotta’ get him that second look when he kicks out, so he can catch it closer to the basket, I think…. particularly when a team digs well or they double team. So, on the kick-out — to give him a quick second look where it’s a paint-catch — he can go quickly on the catch and he doesn’t have to put it on the floor where they can get their help in there.”

Let’s be honest here: Rose is the best basketball player on the Bulls, but Boozer’s the most efficient scorer. All of his combined shooting rates are higher than Rose’s — .555 TS%, .525 eFG% (both second on the team only to Kyle Korver). He’s shooting 66.7% at the rim, 42.3% at 3-to-9 feet (under his career rate), and a team-leading 46.9% at 10-to-15 feet.

Another problem Rose has had in distributing the basketball most efficiently is holding onto the ball too long when trapped on the pick n’ roll. Boozer is easily a top-three two-man-game big. He sets screens as effectively as a anyone in the game, comes off of them quick to heighten the effectiveness, and his ability to catch n’ finish inside or catch n’ shoot outside is an asset it’s almost criminal to not utilize as Rose has relatively ignored it.

Rose’s inside-out game is where he’s more noticeably creating more points

Rose’s assists are up and this is uncontroversial. Not only is he getting two more per game — as 8.1 — than his previous two seasons, but his Turnover Rate hasn’t significantly suffered with the higher usage. (At 13.4%, it’s much lower than Magic Johnson’s ever was in a season — who finished his career with a 19.4% rate.)

More important, his assists are leading to more points than ever. Last season, Rose’s 6.0 APG led to 13.3 PPG, including threes. This season, Rose’s assists have moreso been the incorporation of Thibs’ Flex offense with Rose quarterbacking to teammates coming off screens and expanding the options of his elite dribble penetration with an inside-out game. The result has been assisting 2.1 threes per game, instead of 1.3 last season. His 2010-11 assists have led to 18.3 PPG.

Beckley Mason lauded Rose’s progression in finding teammates in more efficient floor positions Feb. 28 at the TrueHoop-affiliated “HoopSpeak”:

HoopData tabulates
a statistic called Assist + which is simply assists per game with added
weight for assists leading to three-pointers. Rose sees a 13.6%
increase in his assist numbers when factoring in three’s, the third
highest increase of any player ranking in the top ten in the NBA. Only
Raymond Felton (14.4%) and Steve Nash (14.3%) see a greater increase
when incorporating the perimeter shooting of teammates.
Yet Rose
manages this degree of augmentation playing on a team that is only
average when it comes to both three-point shooting efficiency and sheer
volume of shots.


As a whole, Rose ranks 7th in the NBA in three-pointers
assisted per game despite running an offense that attempts a low number
of perimeter shots and is only an average shooting team from this range.
This is despite the fact that the Bulls lack three point shooters at
either forward position don’t play a style that encourages a great deal
of perimeter shooting. These numbers back up a simple truth that is
palpable when watching Chicago play: Rose is one of the best when it
comes to getting his teammates excellent looks from three.

With his explosiveness off the dribble, Rose has the ability to
penetrate against nearly any defense. This routinely forces opposing
defenses to collapse into the lane, but what gets lost in the catalog of
floaters and tough lay ups is the excellent court vision he exhibits
also in this setting, consistently finding open shooters once he has
placed the defense in a position where players have to scramble on a
kick out.
It should also be noted that opposing defenses tend to
collapse so aggressively because of his propensity to look for his shot
in this setting. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Rose passes 25%
of the time when he isolates with the basketball, which is not a
particularly high mark, but consider that when including passes out of
this setting as well he produces a scoring efficiency of 1.125 points
per possession with an adjusted field goal percentage of 54.3. Not only
do these mark rank higher than other elite point guards like Nash, Rajon
Rondo, Deron Williams and Chris Paul, but also well above other primary
scorers including Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Dirk Nowitzki.

This isn’t simply a matter of Rose capitalizing on his physical gifts
though, he is showing the ability to create scoring opportunities
without attacking off the dribble. Yes, he’s an excellent isolation
scorer, but he is also making the kinds of passes that are vital to his
team’s success. Chicago’s personnel doesn’t afford it the luxury of
launching contested or even quick catch and shoot threes (save for Kyle
Korver), so the Bulls rely on Rose to generate open looks from the
perimeter. Regardless of the fact that he hardly fits the stereotype of a
traditional pass first point guard, his effectiveness as a distributor
is undeniable.

All of this points to Rose progressing in a manner where the efficiency of his decision-making rises exponentially as he gets closer to the basket — whether it’s getting to the line, attempt circus shots that either fall or get cleaned up by coming trailers, or finding the open man on the outside. This is amazing and should be applauded for that.

But where Rose needs to progress before the postseason is his decision-making on the outside. He’s good enough to be encouraged to take open looks when he gets them, but when they’re not there, he simply isn’t efficient enough to look to create that outside shot. More important: he doesn’t need to.

The most crucial variable to all of this is the extreme talent of one of the best low-post players in the NBA not getting enough touches. Boozer’s a very good passer, who’ll make the solid interior pass to a cutter or kick out when his shot isn’t there. But when he kicks out, he needs the luxury of knowing he’ll get the ball back in his hands immediately when he resets his body.

There are too many possessions where he kicks the ball back out, resets his body, screams, “HEY!” and doesn’t get the ball back. Those buckets are way too easy too pass up and as a general scheme, the Bulls perimeter players need to recognize this better. This starts with Rose.

Advanced Stats via Basketball-Reference; Shot Location Stats via Hoopdata.

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