Milwaukee Bucks: Examining the 2017 version of Derrick Rose

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Derrick Rose
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Derrick Rose /
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NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 25: Derrick Rose
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 25: Derrick Rose /


There are still flashes of the Rose of old, but they’re fleeting at best.

Rose hasn’t lost the kind of speed that can allow him to skip past most NBA defenders like a blur, but what he can do at the end of such a move has changed significantly.

Where the Chicago native used to rise up for spectacular dunks once he caught sight of the rim, almost all of that explosiveness has now deserted him. Rather than being the norm, Rose dunks have become events in themselves. Two or three times a year you can be guaranteed to log on to Twitter at a time when there are desperate proclamations of Rose being “back”.

As he always has been able to do, Rose can still finish in the paint thanks to a variety of crafty floaters and high degree of difficulty layups. Without the bounce of old, and his former ability to get that kick of separation, even those attempts are now much more challenging for him, though.

Rose is a very skilled passer, but with so many of his weapons off the drive now taken away from him, he has become a less willing passer post-injury. In the years up until Rose’s first major injury he averaged 6.8 assists per 36 minutes, while that number has dropped to 5.2 in the time since.

Through passing less, Rose has embraced more inefficient mid-range jump-shots. The result has been a field goal percentage of only 43 percent, and a lackluster three-point success rate of 28.2 percent for his last four seasons.

Even the dramatically less dynamic, injury tarnished version of Rose, can still be effective when he drives to the rim and when he searches out teammates. The problem is he’s not opting to do that.

Jason Kidd observed that after the Bucks defeated Rose’s Knicks back in March. As Kidd explained to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Bucks were happy to let Rose take all the mid-range twos he wanted:

"“The guys executed the game plan,” Kidd said. “Rose was going but he was shooting twos. When he’s doing that, we live with that. “It took the ball out of other guys’ hands and also took the three out of the game for us. He (Rose) only missed three shots but that was the game plan. For Delly to understand that he executed the game plan. With his pride, he had to take it, and hopefully, our younger guys can learn from that. It’s not a 1-on-1 game; it’s a team game.”"

In a three-point dominant league, settling no longer cuts it. Everything is about the three. Teams need players who can make them, and they also need players who can penetrate and force the defense to collapse and leave shooters open.

Rose can still do the latter, but even on a night where he scored 26 points he couldn’t prevent his team from losing by taking mid-range jumpers. Even if, like Rose, you’re not a great three-point shooter, you need to find ways to help your team make more threes.

The NBA has embraced the fact that three is more valuable than two, but Rose has yet to show a willingness to adapt his game to create more opportunities from deep for his team.