Part One: Ball Handling and Athleticism
Watching his footage, its hard not to wonder whether Rose might actually be the most athletic point guard weve 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, were 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 hes 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 Caliparis offense instilled an incredibly aggressive scoring/slashing mentality in Rose from a very early point in the season, but hes 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 hes playing on truly hints at great things that are in store for him in the future.
-NCAA Tournament Performers 4/1/08 Part One
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 Roses NBA career, it is becoming clear that those prognostications were not simply hyperbole. As predicted, Roses 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 hes 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, Roses creativity in the air is not only breathtaking at times, its also highly effective. Lately, he has even shown more confidence with his floater and tear drop a shot necessary for a point guard in todays 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. Hes especially adept at flashing to an open area, which often leads to positive results. In transition however, when he doesnt have the ball, he tends to slow down, not fill the lanes often confused as to what to do when hes not the primary ball handler.
Part Two: Decision Making
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 its 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 its not difficult at all to see where this comparison came from.
-NCAA Weekly Performers Freshman Edition, Part One 11/23/07.
As talented as Rose looked at the time, it did not take long to find faults in Roses 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 hell 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 Technologys 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
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 isnt 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 hes 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
The biggest question mark haunting Rose when he entered the league was his lack of a consistent jump shot. Although hes hasnt 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, hes 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 hes 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
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
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 hes going to have some lapses in judgment, especially when hes 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
Defensively, Rose has shown both good and bad so far. He obviously has huge potential here, but you dont always see him taking full advantage of it. It wasnt 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
This is the area of the game that Rose has struggled with. When watching him, it almost seems as if hes holding something back defensively. He doesnt really get into a stance and try to get after someone. Hes 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 hasnt shown it yet. Hes displayed bits and pieces of what hes 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 doesnt seem to take part in. In transition defense situations he rarely calls out who he has and doesnt direct his teammates to pick up open men. Theres no sense of urgency in the half court either, as he doesnt 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)
Reporter: You mentioned before your leadership skills, but by all accounts of people that know you, well youre also something of a quiet guy, so how do those things jive?
Derrick Rose: Off the court Im kind of quiet, but on the court I talk a little bit more, Im calmer and it seems like people listen to me when Im 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 Im a good teammate.
-Interviews with Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley 6/1/2008
Roses 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 hes 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 doesnt 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.