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Rookie Retrospective: Derrick Rose
by: Scott Nadler
December 6, 2008
In a new series of features called "Rookie Retrospectives," we’ll examine the success and struggles of members of this year’s rookie class as well as take a look back at some of the players from previous draft classes that we may have neglected in past seasons. To break down these potential stars, we’ll be reviewing, analyzing, and systematically updating the profiles we had written for them before their arrival in the League in an effort to show where they have made strides and where they have failed to live up to expectations. With a reasonable sample of games at our disposal, we’ll also discuss what these player have meant to their team thus far and how they will progress moving forward.

All quotes from previous evaluations can be found in player’s profile

Rookie Retrospective: Derrick Rose
Point Guard 6’2 ½, 196, 1988, Chicago Bulls



Part One: Ball Handling and Athleticism

Then:
“Watching his footage, it’s hard not to wonder whether Rose might actually be the most athletic point guard we’ve ever evaluated at the college level. We talk about quickness and explosiveness and such all the time on DraftExpress, but Rose is clearly in a class of his own. His first step is nothing short of breathtaking, and when combined with his terrific ball-handling skills (particularly his awesome crossover) and outstanding body control once in the lane, we’re talking about an unstoppable force when it comes to his slashing game. Rose can handle the ball very well with both hands (although he favors his right), and is always looking for an opportunity to use a lethal assortment of jukes and hesitation moves to get to the basket,… Once he’s there, his excellent leaping ability allows him to just hang in the air and finish strong with a variety of acrobatic layups, floaters or sometimes even an emphatic dunk.”
- NCAA Weekly Performers – Freshman Edition, Part One, 11/23/07.

“John Calipari’s offense instilled an incredibly aggressive scoring/slashing mentality in Rose from a very early point in the season, but he’s also learned how to use his extraordinary talent to finish plays with advanced moves that he will surely need in the NBA as well. The fact that he is not showing any type of hesitation executing these moves despite the gigantic stage he’s playing on truly hints at great things that are in store for him in the future.”
-NCAA Tournament Performers 4/1/08 – Part One

Now:
Only a month into his college season, we saw a once in a generation physical talent and clearly had high expectations for the point guard at the next level. Now, about a month into Derrick Rose’s NBA career, it is becoming clear that those prognostications were not simply hyperbole. As predicted, Rose’s ability to create off the dribble and finish in traffic has translated seamlessly to the NBA level, as he is yet to find a team that can keep him out of the lane. Opposing guards who defend him give him about 3 to 4 feet when he makes his initial move, and still have no chance of stopping him once he changes direction or pace, especially when he shows a hesitation dribble or stutter step.

Playing in a spread offense with four out and one in and sometimes even five out, Rose has a number of ways to attack the paint. In pick and roll situations defenders tend to go under the screen, and Rose still manages to get a step and find himself in the painted area. While he’s proven more than capable in half court sets, he is most dangerous in transition. Rose often pushes the ball at what appears to be a fast pace, but then explodes to another gear when he crosses over. This ability to change speeds on the fly is what will potentially put him in an elite class as he begins to utilize his physical gifts on a consistent basis.

When he gets to the hoop, his upper body strength, mixed with his body control, make for some dazzling finishes at the rim. Be it with a resounding dunk, or nifty lay-up that requires a little extra hang time, Rose’s creativity in the air is not only breathtaking at times, it’s also highly effective. Lately, he has even shown more confidence with his floater and tear drop – a shot necessary for a point guard in today’s game. Presently he only shoots it with his right, but he gets it off so quickly, as he can jump stop and rise on the drop of dime, that it remains difficult to contest.

He does a good job off the ball as well in the half court. He’s especially adept at flashing to an open area, which often leads to positive results. In transition however, when he doesn’t have the ball, he tends to slow down, not fill the lanes – often confused as to what to do when he’s not the primary ball handler.

Part Two: Decision Making

Then:
“This incredible ability to create his own shot almost whenever he pleases has served as mostly a gift, but also sometimes as a curse this year. Because of the green light he has in this offense to take the ball strong to the rack every single time, Rose sometime fails to read the defense and ends up looking out of control. Learning when to rev it up into the fifth gear and when to stay in second or third will be one of the biggest things that will define whether Rose is indeed able to capitalize on his superstar potential at the next level. Right now it’s not too rare to see him lowering his shoulder and bullying his way into the lane, sometimes heaving up a bad shot (lacking some strength to finish here, and clearly avoiding his left hand), or even committing an offensive foul. That seems to be a major reason why the so called next Jason Kidd is currently averaging more turnovers than assists, even if it’s not difficult at all to see where this comparison came from.”
-NCAA Weekly Performers – Freshman Edition, Part One 11/23/07.

Now:
As talented as Rose looked at the time, it did not take long to find faults in Rose’s game that continue to haunt him today. He has shown a lack of recognition when pushing the ball– attacking on a two on four break or pulling it out when his team has the advantage. Other times he’ll penetrate to the basket, commit to leaving his feet and force up a shot or try to thread a tough pass. When he can learn to keep his dribble alive (ala Steve Nash), more opportunities will open up for him.

Perhaps his biggest weakness, in some ways, is not knowing how good he is. There are moments when he seems too passive and defers to his teammates – leaving something to be desired. One might say he does a good job at picking his spots, but with his talent he needs to be aggressive and take advantage of every opportunity. This lack of aggression is exhibited in his 3.6 free throws attempts per game average – extremely low for a player with his tools. An area that he has shown improvement is with his left hand. According to Synergy Sports Technology’s quantified player report, Rose is driving the ball left 57.9% of the time. His deadliest weapon has a lot to do with this as he prefers a right to left cross-over. Despite that, Rose still finishes the great majority of his plays with his right hand on either side.



Part Three: Shooting

Then:
“He still hits less than one 3-pointer per game, and does so shooting 35% (as well as just 70% from the free throw line), numbers that are not all that impressive, but are still an indication that his shot is not “broke” as some might say. Teams still back off and go underneath screens on a regular basis while defending him, and he isn’t quite consistent enough with his spot-up shooting to discourage them from doing so at this point. His pull-up jumper from mid-range is much improved, but he’s often a little bit off balance when taking it, not fully squaring his shoulders or going straight up in the air. These are things that NBA coaches will work with him extensively on, and he should be able to improve considerably if the progress he made this season is any indication. To his credit, he does look quite confident in his attempts, which is often half the battle.”
-NCAA Tournament Performers 4/1/08 – Part One

Now:
The biggest question mark haunting Rose when he entered the league was his lack of a consistent jump shot. Although he’s hasn’t quite proven to be a major outside threat thus far, Rose has built on his improvement from the end of his college season. As mentioned, his mechanics look very good, which means additional repetitions in practice and games will only increase his productivity. His misses are mainly short, which suggests a flat shot –a characteristic that can be attributed to rushing his attempts and not getting enough leg-strength underneath him.

His percentages from both the field (49%) and free throw line (85%) are currently very high, but those numbers may be deceiving considering the majority of his field goals come in the paint and how few free throws he attempts per game, as well as the potentially limited sample size. When he does attempt mid-range jump shots, be it off the dribble or spotting up, he has shown good accuracy when balanced, and also elevated extremely well. When jumping straight up and down, he’s capable of making shots and becomes a factor that needs to be defended. Off the dribble he shoots a more practical shot, going straight into his motion, stopping on a dime and elevating to his highest point. That pull-up can become a reliable shot for Rose as early as this year. When catching and shooting, his release is considerably slower – especially from the 3-point line. He goes into his motion methodically and can only get it off if he’s wide open. He has the stroke necessary to be successful from long range, he just needs to put in the time to become more fluid in his release.



Part Four: Point Guard Skills and Court Vision

Then:
“Rose does have very good court vision and the ability to create for teammates every way a point guard should be able to. He makes assists by pushing the ball in transition, finding open shots in the half-court, and driving-and-dishing in the lane. His decision-making with the ball has been questionable at times, most notably with him forcing some bad shots in the lane over the course of the season.”
- Marquee Matchup Derrick Rose vs. Jeremy Pargo 1/30/08

Now:
So far, Rose has done a good job running the point. He moves people to the right spots and can recognize mismatches (except for his own sometimes as a result of his passivity). Other times he tries to force the action and make the spectacular plays as opposed to the right one; but overall he is making the correct reads as evidenced by a respectable 2 to 1 assist/turnover ratio. The assists that he is racking up (nearly 6 a game) however, do not show a player with elite passing ability. He makes the simple passes – like drive and kick outs, or he finds a teammate on the break, or swings the ball to open shooters. Despite his tendency to not take a lot of risks as a passer, he has shown a tendency to throw lazy cross court passes. These types of passes give the defense more than enough time to recover, making it nearly impossible for shooters to get their shots off. He is currently not the type of passer that makes one say that he saw something before anyone else did (ala Jason Kidd).

Another tendency he has shown is over-dribbling. When passing lanes are denied, Rose will occasionally dribble too much and leave the offense stagnant. Regardless, it is still preferable for him to over-dribble than pick it up too early, as he can turn nothing into something in a flash. His overall basketball I.Q. is rather high. He seems to know when to push the ball, when to pull it out, and also time and situations. While he’s going to have some lapses in judgment, especially when he’s playing at full speed, that type of on court savvy is what is going to bring Rose to the elite level once he gains the proper amount of experience.



Part Five: Defense

Then:
“Defensively, Rose has shown both good and bad so far. He obviously has huge potential here, but you don’t always see him taking full advantage of it. It wasn’t rare early on to see him getting beat off the dribble for example, failing to attack screens, giving his man too much space, or just generally being a little too lackadaisical not valuing every defensive possession. But on the possessions where he really put it together and fully utilized his outstanding physical tools, Rose looked like an absolute menace with his terrific size, length and quickness.”
-NCAA Weekly Performers -- Freshmen Edition, Part One 11/23/2007

Now:
This is the area of the game that Rose has struggled with. When watching him, it almost seems as if he’s holding something back defensively. He doesn’t really get into a stance and try to get after someone. He’s more content with shadowing an opponent and containing, instead of shutting them down. He has all the physical tools to be a lockdown defender, with great size, strength and lateral quickness, but hasn’t shown it yet. He’s displayed bits and pieces of what he’s capable of (like this amazing block on Andre Miller) , but needs to bring that type of effort consistently.

He does a poor job of fighting through screens on the ball and off of it. He settles on ball screens –staying with the screener instead of putting up a fight to recover back. Off the ball, he really has a hard time chasing a perimeter player running through screens in the half court. He gets stuck too often, which shows his lack of understanding of how to defend. Additionally, a major component of defense is communication, which Rose doesn’t seem to take part in. In transition defense situations he rarely calls out who he has and doesn’t direct his teammates to pick up open men. There’s no sense of urgency in the half court either, as he doesn’t contest all shots and keeps his hands by his waist when closing out. He needs to get away from this careless mode and begin showing the tenacity that could make him great.

Part Six: Intangibles (Leadership and Poise)

Then:
Reporter: You mentioned before your leadership skills, but by all accounts of people that know you, well you’re also something of a quiet guy, so how do those things jive?

Derrick Rose: Off the court I’m kind of quiet, but on the court I talk a little bit more, I’m calmer and it seems like people listen to me when I’m on the court.

Reporter: How do you think you command the respect of your teammates?

Derrick Rose: Leading by example, staying at practice a little bit longer. Doing the little things off the court, showing that I’m a good teammate.

-Interviews with Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley 6/1/2008

Now:
Rose’s maturity and demeanor on the court make him seem like a ten year veteran. He never gets too high or too low and maintains that same poker face throughout a game. His poise is contagious to his team as they see their floor general un-phased in pressure situations. Sometimes he’s a little too cool and could be accused of lacking effort. For the most part, he plays very hard and is quick to loose balls; but other times he conserves his energy a little bit too much. This type of demeanor however, is special for a point guard and will serve him well for years to come. Nevertheless, his leadership skills must improve. He doesn’t speak a lot on the court and must adapt to becoming more vocal if he truly wants to lead. He has to break out of his shell and be that floor leader that will make him great. With continued improvement in this area, and the natural progression that comes with maturity and age, Rose is on his way to superstar status.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to snadler1@gmail.com .

 

Derrick Rose
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 196 lbs.
Birthday: 10/01/1988
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Simeon Vocational
Previous Team: Bulls , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 2008 Draft
by the Bulls
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
15.7 Pts, 2.4 Rebs, 5.0 Asts


Jason Kidd
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 215 lbs.
Birthday: 03/23/1973
41 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Notre Dame St. Joseph
Previous Team: California , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #2 in 1994 Draft
by the Mavericks
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
4.3 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 3.3 Asts


Steve Nash
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 187 lbs.
Birthday: 02/07/1974
40 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Michaels University
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #15 in 1996 Draft
by the Suns
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
7.0 Pts, 1.5 Rebs, 3.0 Asts


Michael Beasley
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 239 lbs.
Birthday: 01/09/1989
25 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Notre Dame Prep
Previous Team: Shanghai , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #2 in 2008 Draft
by the Heat
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: SF/PF
Quick Stats:
29.6 Pts, 11.9 Rebs, 4.2 Asts


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