Is Derrick Rose Still a Good NBA Point Guard?
You know how the story goes by now.
It seems like just yesterday a 22-year-old Derrick Rose was taking home his shiny new MVP trophy. Well, it wasn't yesterday.
No. Not anymore.
It was nearly five years ago now, in Rose's third season in the league, that he began his MVP campaign. That's a lifetime ago -- especially in NBA years. Now, largely due to serious injury after another, Rose has gone from MVP of the league to one of the least valuable players on his own team.
My apologies to those of you still living in 2011 and thinking, "That can't be right!"
The truth hurts.
Derrick Rose hasn't been good for four years now. He's been many things -- injured, sidelined, inconsistent and even resilient -- but good is not one of them.
Rose has played in just more than 30% of the Bulls' regular season games over the last four years. That includes a year in which Rose did not play one game after suffering a torn ACL in the first game of the 2011 playoffs.
When D-Rose has been on the floor he hasn't been very helpful.
In the four years since Rose's MVP season, he's tallied a mere seven Win Shares. To put that into perspective, James Harden led the league this year with 16.4 Win Shares.
Rose has also been a negative in terms of Box Plus-Minus (BPM). The point man managed to remain positive on the offensive end of BPM, but on the other end he was a major burden to the defensive-minded Bulls. His Defensive Box Plus-Minus totals -5.2 over the course of his past three NBA seasons.
His Value over Replacement Player (VORP) doesn't look so bad beside such a bad BPM, but don't let that deceive you. In his MVP season alone Rose maintained a VORP of 6.0.
If that wasn't enough, Rose's nERD of -5.0 is the worst of his career and ranks 27th and 127th among starting point guards and all NBA players, respectively. That's 19.0 worse than his 14.0 he earned in 2010-11.
But I'm not just hear as the bearer of bad news. I'm a very positive person and a firm believer that in order to fix a problem you must first acknowledge it.
But He Can Be
Right now, Derrick Rose isn't a good NBA point guard. That does not mean, however, that he can't be from this season on. In order to do so he has to make a couple big changes to his 2014 game.
One fairly obvious problem is quite simple to solve: stop shooting so many threes.
This past season, Rose shot the most three-point attempts per game (5.3) of his career while he failed to match his career high for three-point makes per game. He did so by shooting an abysmal 28.0% from three -- his worst mark since the 2009-10 NBA season -- and putting up 32.5% of his field goals from beyond the arc.
A quick comparison to Rose's MVP season? He shot 33.2% from deep and took a much more reasonable 24.1% of his attempts from three point land.
The other problem isn't so glaring.
Derrick Rose needs to be more of a distributor. Back in his MVP days, Rose's 7.7 assists per game and 38.7% assist percentage ranked in the top 10 in the NBA. This past season, Rose's 4.9 assists fell outside the top 20 and his assist percentage of 30.7% ranked 19th among all players.
Now that says that Rose didn't tally as many assists this year but it also suggests that he did a lot of it at times. And he did. Rose tallied 14 games (out of 51) in which he distributed at least seven helpers. Those 14 games tell us a lot for one reason -- the Bulls won most of them.
The Bulls went 11-3 in those 14 games. If Rose consistently played distributor every night, odds are that their record would have been significantly better than it was otherwise.
So, if the former MVP can heed these two bits of advice from a man sitting at his computer, he could see some positive results for his Chicago Bulls. More importantly, we might have a new answer to the question at hand.
If not, I'm afraid the current answer will stick and the memory of D-Rose in his glory days will fade away rather quickly -- much like his amazing talent and promising career.
As an NBA fan, I hope for the former rather than the latter.