The Biggest Thing Derrick Rose's Return Will Do for Each Chicago Bulls Starter
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This is guaranteed: Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler are surely thrilled that Rose is positioned for a promising return. A healthy Rose ensures that the Bulls have a legitimate chance to compete for a championship.
Rose's sheer talent and athleticism shift the play of his teammates, so what's the biggest thing Rose's comeback will do for each starter?
The following analysis zooms in on how Rose specifically shapes the approaches of Noah, Boozer, Deng and Butler.
First and foremost, Rose's return will inject even further emotion in Noah.
Noah's energy is customary, but regaining Rose should elevate Noah's excitement to an all-time high. With a healthy roster, Chicago has their sights on reaching the NBA pinnacle. Noah's enthusiasm about this hope is pretty persuasive in this video.
The emphatic screams and entertaining antics should be on heightened display with Rose back in uniform. This alone will vault Chicago's attack, because they naturally feed off the heart of their All-Star center.
Rose will also affect Noah from a basketball standpoint. Rose's penetrations will open up scoring opportunities near the basket for Noah, which will improve his offensive output.
Noah's offensive repertoire is limited, but Rose's ability prompts him to generate productivity. This happens through dump passes that result in layups or dunks or tip-ins after Rose misses a contested floater (leaving Noah with an opening for an offensive board).
The featured area of Noah's game that will be elevated through Rose is his overall passion. This will be through the roof. But there will be other results that are evident, namely an increased potency in Noah's offensive production.
The main element to Boozer's arsenal that will be modified by Rose is his mid-range jumper. We should expect to see it rather frequently. Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily a good thing.
In 2010-11, Boozer's clip from the field with Rose on the floor was 50.6 percent, but when Rose was on the bench it was a lofty 55.3 percent, according to NBA.com/Stats. This pattern continued in 2011-12 (albeit to a lesser degree), with Boozer shooting 52.4 percent while Rose was on the floor and 54.0 percent when he was on the pine.
What is the explanation for this? One would think Rose would provide easy scoring chances for Boozer, resulting in a raised field goal rate.
In 2007-08, arguably Boozer's best statistical season of his career, he shot 54.0 percent from the field while Williams was playing alongside him, with the clip climbing to 59.0 percent when Williams was on the sideline.
The best reasoning that can be made is this: When Boozer plays with an All-Star-caliber point guard, he regularly floats in the 10-19 feet range, where he is frequently found for an open jumper. The problem? He just isn't that good of a shooter from those places.
The following table illustrates this by examining his percentages from such locations and then comparing it with his overall mark (NBA.com/Stats provides a full rundown of his shooting splits here).
|Year||FG % (10-14 Feet)||FG % (15-19 Feet)||Overall FG %|
He is by no means atrocious, but he in a sense "settles" for these shots when playing alongside talents like Williams and Rose. When such figures are off the floor, he is more aggressive in using his strength to drive to the lane and get open looks closer to the bucket.
Therefore, Rose's return will spark more jump shots for Boozer, but this isn't ideal for Chicago's schemes.
This is one area to specifically monitor, because Rose and Boozer should adjust how they mesh together. Boozer should intentionally seek more openings around the rim or in the low post, where Rose can find him, and he can in turn use his burly upper body.
It's not that Boozer should never launch mid-range jumpers, but he should limit them while asserting himself where he's most effective. Rose should promote this dynamic within Boozer, but this will be a process.
As of now, we should still anticipate seeing Boozer hoist his high-arching shot with regularity, particularly off of dishes from Rose.
Deng has carried a heavy load on Chicago's defensive end for years now. His reputation as one of the league's marquee perimeter defenders is warranted.
In 2012-13, though, Deng was forced to also embrace a weighty role offensively. With Rose inactive, Deng became the Bulls' primary shot creator (unless Nate Robinson was having one of his "Good Nate" nights).
While Deng did an adequate job in supplying an array of efforts, it unsurprisingly took a toll on him. His three-point percentage was the worst it has been since 2006-2007 (when he rarely even shot threes), and his plus/minus finished at a shocking number: minus-2.
The following chart compares this to his previous seasons.
What's more, his defensive rating was also uncharacteristic (1.04, per 82games.com). While not overly disappointing, this mark was much better in previous seasons: 1.01 in 2010-11 and 0.98 in 2011-12.
The drastic differences here can be largely attributed to the overwhelming responsibility Deng possessed last campaign. Thankfully, Rose's return eases him of such a burden. It will free him and enable more energy.
It's almost like Deng can take a big deep breath now that Rose is reappearing. Deng can recognize that he remains a core facet to Chicago's style of play, but he also doesn't need to bear such a taxing role.
This will most importantly help him recover his premier defensive abilities, and it should also instigate more well-rounded contributions offensively. For instance, compare Deng's three-point accuracy when Rose is on/off the floor, per NBA.com/Stats.
|Year||3 PT % (Rose on floor)||3 PT % (Rose on bench)|
Deng is clearly a more valuable player when Rose is playing alongside him. This will be witnessed on both ends of the floor, and he should retrieve the top-notch efficiency he has exhibited in years past.
Jimmy Butler is the mystery man in this conversation, because Rose and he have played very few minutes together. In Butler's rookie season in 2011-12 (Rose's last active one), he rarely saw regular playing time.
While they may lack familiarity playing with one another, we should have zero doubts concerning what they can accomplish in the backcourt. Rose should be ecstatic to perform alongside the emerging Butler, especially since Rose has never really played with a quality all-around shooting guard.
The biggest thing Rose's return will do for Butler is create plenty of high-percentage trey balls. Rose's dribble drives will leave openings as defenders help, leaving figures like Butler commonly unguarded.
Late in the 2012-13 season (including the playoffs), Butler's three-point shot found a groove. Prior to the All-Star break, Butler's three-point rate rest at 25.0 percent, but post All-Star break it was 47.5 percent, according to NBA.com/Stats. This is quite a transformation. Convincing, to say the least.
Butler will now carry this momentum into 2013-14, and he'll do so while learning to play with a point guard who will consistently provide him space to comfortably release his shot. The potential here is scary for opponents.
Butler has already etched his place in the NBA landscape for his defensive exploits, but his offensive skills are developing at a rapid pace. Rose will only enhance this development, particularly in terms of Butler's shooting.
Rose and Butler could soon form one of the most potent backcourts in the league, both offensively and defensively. It will undoubtedly be intriguing to watch these two establish chemistry together.
Rose's return should unquestionably have Bulls fans eager. They are capable of winning 60-plus games and chasing an NBA title if they stay healthy. Rose's presence makes Chicago a dramatically different team, and he makes certain players into unique threats.
In regards to Boozer, there are some kinks that need to be worked out in time. When it comes to Noah, Deng and Butler, there should be nothing but excitement from loyal Bulls fans. This starting lineup has the makeup of a team poised for a championship journey.
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