Derrick Rose: Chicago Bulls' Star Is the Best PG in the NBA
Too big, too strong, too fast. Too good.
During almost every Chicago Bulls game you will hear TV analyst Stacy King utter these words. And no he is not referring to Keith Bogans.
Derrick Rose has been exactly that this season, just plain too good for the rest of the league. He is having a career year in just his third season in the NBA. He is averaging 24.8 PPG and 7.8 APG and has led the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference.
When comparing Derrick Rose to the other top point guards in the NBA, I found one amazing thing.
He has found a way to combine the best parts of other PG's games, like the Frankenstein of the NBA. Right now, the point guard is the premier position in the NBA and this skill set is what makes him the best of the best.
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1. Russell Westbrook's Athleticism
The NBA has never seen such a crop of uber-athletic point guards like it has right now.
Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook are the most athletic of the bunch. While athleticism is Westbrook's biggest strength, it is just the beginning of a long skill set for Rose.
This athleticism is what allows Rose to explode past and over defenders on his way to the basket. Rarely do we see point guards that can dunk like Rose and Westbrook, but Bulls and Thunder fans are becoming more accustomed to it.
With his unreal athleticism, the sky is the limit for Rose in terms of potential.
2. Chauncey Billups' Work Ethic/Shooting
The most amazing thing about Rose’s season has been the development of his perimeter shot.
Last year, the knock on Rose was that he needed a consistent jump shot. Rose is amazing off the dribble, but defenders sagged off of him and cut off angles because they weren't scared of his jumper.
Rose set out to make himself a good mid-range shooter this summer, but would up greatly improving his three-point shot as well; working harder than maybe anyone in the league in the offseason. This is a path we saw Billups take early in his career. He was a talented player, but his career stalled because of his lack of a consistent jumper. Once Billups started putting in the time in the gym shooting jumpers he became one of the NBA's elite PGs.
In his rookie and sophomore seasons, Rose took 132 three-pointers and made just 24 percent of them. Some of that was because of the more conservative Bulls offensive scheme last year, but that only explains the low number of attempts.
Rose has taken 321 three-pointers and made 33 percent so far this season. Thibodeau has the utmost confidence in Rose to shoot from behind the arc now.
He accomplished this with hard work.
Rose said in an interview with the Sporting News, “I just took a lot of shots. It was just repetition until I felt like I was getting better. It’s something that I want to do every year, to come back with something new in my game.”
Rose is not a three-point marksmen yet, but I dare you to send your point guard under a ball screen on defense this season.
3. Jason Kidd's Leadership
Jason Kidd has been the guy for almost 20 years that anyone would pick to run their team on the floor.
Derrick Rose wants to be that guy. He spent all summer on Team USA and with other superstars learning what it means to be a floor leader.
While Rose is not a vocal guy, he leads by example and work, and his team has followed suit. When times get tough on the floor the team looks to him.
Coach Thibodeau has given complete trust to Rose on the floor even allowing him to make decisions on play calls at the end of games.
Early this season, Rose told reporters that he felt he could win the NBA’s MVP award. Just in his third season, Rose has begun to find out that a big part of leadership is taking pressure off the players around you and putting it on yourself.
4. Deron Williams' Passing
With all the drama surrounding Deron Williams this season, it may have been lost in the shuffle that he is still the best passing point guard in the NBA.
The best thing about Deron Williams' passing is his style. He doesn't throw the flashy pass, he throws the best pass.
How many Bucks fans are tired of seeing Brandon Jennings try to fit flashy passes through tight spots?
Derrick Rose is the same kind of passer. He rarely makes mistakes by being too flashy on his passes and when someone is open, he usually gets him the ball. The thing that doesn't show up in the stats though, are the passes that lead to assists that lead to points for the Bulls. This is something that comes up with post players a lot and I have never seen a PG so good at it, but often Rose makes a smart pass that leads to an assist for the next player to touch it.
Here's an idea. Start tracking hockey assists in the NBA. Both passes that lead to a score. I can guarantee Rose will be near the top of the NBA in that category.
5. Steve Nash's Court Vision
Steve Nash has the best court vision in the NBA.
Derrick Rose is right near the top though, but they use it in different ways. While Nash almost exclusively uses his vision to find teammates for open shots, Rose uses his to make decisions.
Rose rarely makes a poor decision on the break or in the half-court. It seems like he knows whether it is best to pass or attack the rim himself. Due to his impeccable court vision, Rose is able to make his teammates better while also making himself better.
The fact that Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Ronnie Brewer are out on the court to run with him only improves his vision because he knows that he is never alone.
6. Tony Parker's Team
Tony Parker may not be one of the most talented point guards in the NBA, he may not even be one of the best, but what he does have is a team and a system built for him to succeed.
That is exactly what Derrick Rose has. He is the unquestioned lead dog and has pieces around him that only make him better.
Once John Paxson realized what he had in Rose last year, he went out and found players that would fit around him in the offseason. He got a low-post threat and double-double machine in Carlos Boozer. An athletic 2-guard to run the floor with him and take some pressure off on defense in Ronnie Brewer. After that, he filled the roster out with shooters and big men like Kyle Korver, Kieth Bogans, C.J. Watson and Omer Asik.
The Bulls are built for Rose to lead them to the top and he is doing just that. Parker leads the Spurs to the top of the West each season and Rose will do that year after year for the Bulls.
7. Baron Davis' Size
Baron Davis is no longer one of the top point guards in the NBA, but there was a time not too long ago when he was and one of his best attributes was his size.
At 6'3" 191 pounds, both Derrick Rose and Baron Davis are listed at the same size. (I would be willing to bet that is Davis' weight from 2005, but that is an entirely different article.) When Davis was in his prime, he could not only go around defenders—he could go through them.
This size is what gives Rose an advantage over many point guards these days. The NBA has gone to much smaller, quicker point guards recently like Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson and Darren Collison.
Rose can go over and through these defenders to the rim because of his size, making him almost unstoppable.
8. Andre Miller's Durability
Durability is something that is lost in most conversations about NBA stars, unless the players are highly injury prone, but durability is one of the keys to being the best of the best.
Andre Miller has never played less than 80 games in any of his 11 NBA seasons.
Durability has also been one of the keys in Rose's rise to the top. He has only missed five games in his three seasons in the league. If he can stay healthy there is no stopping Rose in his ascension to the top of the NBA.
9. Rajon Rondo's Defense
Rajon Rondo has everything you could want in an NBA defender.
High basketball IQ.
Derrick Rose possess all of these things and one thing Rondo no longer has...
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who used to be the defensive assistant for the Boston Celtics.
Thibodeau has transformed Rose from an average defender into one of the NBA's best defensive point guards. Whoever plays against Rose and the Bulls usually struggles.
If he can keep up his defense and keep improving, the Bulls will be a force in the playoffs.
10. Chris Paul's Ability to Make His Teammates Better
Chris Paul is Derrick Rose's main competition for best point guard in the NBA. This is because Chris Paul just simply makes his teammates better.
Paul is one of the leaders in assists every year averaging 10.0 APG for his career, but is also an 18.8 PPG scorer. The ability to make your teammates better does not come only from passing, but also being able to put your team on your shoulders by scoring.
Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams are maybe the only PGs in the league who can do it both ways.
By averaging almost 25 PPG and eight APG this season, Rose has shown the ability to dominate games both with his passing and his scoring. If you have been watching Bulls games this season you have seen him dominate fourth quarters with both.
In a playoff situation, there is no one who I would rather have with the ball in his hands than Derrick Rose this season.
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