According to Gary Woelfel of the Journal Times, a source inside the Bulls has said that there's been a notable change in the former MVP's game:
A Chicago Bulls official who has closely observed Derrick Rose in practice insists the gifted point guard will be even better than he was before suffering a devastating knee injury. The official said Rose’s perimeter shooting has significantly improved.
Rose, a career 31-percent shooter from long range, could certainly use another weapon in his offensive arsenal—especially if he lacks some of his former explosiveness when he eventually returns.
From a technical perspective, Rose did have a few flaws to work out in his stroke. So the bulk of his improvements must have come in a couple of areas.
For starters, Rose had a habit of shooting the ball on the way down, rather than at the apex of his jump. As a result, his release was rarely smooth, and often punctuated by a slight leg kick that he used to create the extra force his mechanically inefficient form created.
If Rose is shooting more smoothly—ideally on the way up or at the peak of his jump—it'd be reasonable to expect a more repeatable stroke.
And from some of the video evidence of him shooting before recent Bulls games, it appears that he has, in fact, refined that area of his jumper.
The second problem with Rose's form was the inconsistent way he squared up his jumper.
A player as athletic as Rose has the ability to to create shots from all different areas of the floor. One of his greatest strengths is getting a shot off from tough angles while twisting his body in the lane.
But what's useful around the basket isn't necessarily great out on the perimeter.
Rose had a tendency to start his shot from the left side of his body, bringing the ball in a diagonal, upward motion to the right side of his head before the release. That motion, combined with his habit of leaning the right side of his body forward, helped contribute to the inconsistent release of his shot.
Throw in a right elbow that was almost never aimed at the target, and you've got a recipe for a streaky shooter.
Sometimes, when all of the moving parts fell into place, Rose looked like a real sniper:
But for the majority of Rose's career, his outside shot has been at best sporadically accurate.
In looking at an earlier video of Rose's pregame workouts this year, it does appear that he has eliminated some of the left-to-right action on his pre-shot gather. However, it's noticeable that as he moves farther away from the basket, his leg-kick tends to exaggerate itself:
Still, in both instances, the shot looks better.
Whenever Rose decides he's ready to return, there's a good chance he'll be an improved shooter. More emphasis on the timing of his release and an improved alignment of his body can only help create a more consistent stroke.
If he's able to knock down something like 36 percent of his threes upon his return (a meager five-percent increase over his career numbers), it'd go a long way toward compensating for his potentially diminished athleticism.
Overall, it's great that Rose is working on the weakest area of his offensive game.
For Bulls fans, though, it'd be nice to know whether he'll be ready to show it off before the end of the 2012-13 season.
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