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Derrick Rose’s game evolves as playoffs go on

May 14, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT


Derrick Rose was special this season.

He attacked the rim with a reckless abandon on his way to 24.1 points and 7.4 assists per game, carrying the Bulls offense all the way to the conference finals, picking up an MVP trophy along the way.

He did it driving in a straight line. Literally. He is a straight-line kind of guy with insane quickness and body control that makes it all work.

But that is starting to change, and the change will be good for the Bulls.

Coach Anthony Macri — a player development consultant with the Pro Training Center (David Thorpe’s company) — broke it down at Hoopsworld.

The guards that moved in Z’s and V’s were typically the explosive athletes, attacking scoring lanes, moving diagonally in straight lines, locating a weak spot and hurtling themselves toward it. They included guys like Russell Westbrook and Tyreke Evans. The ones who probed defenses in curves (S’s and C’s) were players like Steve Nash and Stephen Curry….

Derrick Rose was much more in the first group – the Z’s and V’s category – than any other. But in the last few weeks, we have seen somewhat of a transformation for Rose as he starts to implement aspects of a “curvier” approach to his game. Rose still attacks in straight lines, but rather than stop when he gets himself to a point where he can no longer penetrate, he now bends his penetration, keeping his dribble alive, and continues his attack as more of a probe.

Because this is a relatively new dynamic for Rose, his default is to look for his own offense, which is part of the reason he is taking more attempts than he had been even during the regular season. In many ways, this kind of shift is paradigmatic for a point guard – changing the way they have always been successful is not an easy transition. So, in Rose’s case, it seems like a step back (in shooting percentage, assist totals, etc.), but the reality is he will emerge from this a more complete and therefore better player.

His point is scary for the league — when this transformation is complete Rose is going to be so much better player. A much better point guard, and his teammates will adjust and set themselves up in good spots (like they do around Nash). Rose will still score but he will be better at setting up teammates as well, more patient in finding the holes in the defense.

Will the early stages of this evolution be enough againt the Heat starting Sunday night? That is another question all together.

  1. dvic13 - May 14, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    A lot of people think Derrick game evolved when he was playing for the US this summer. That’s wrong. It happened during last year’s playoffs. It was short for the Bulls, but it was thanks to LeBron James we got to see this improved Derrick. It would of eventually showed maybe in a couple more seasons, but when Lebron chose to guard him that series, Rose didn’t back down. He attacked even more. When u see that someone of Lebron’s defensive capabilities can’t shut u down, that’s a confidence builder.

    • liltmac2003 - May 15, 2011 at 1:16 AM

      Hey Kurt,

      I don’t know where you got your stats from, but according to and, Derrick Rose averged 25.0pts and 7.7asts per game this season.

      Why is this important? Because he’s one of the very few players in NBA history to average 25pts, 7.5asts, and 4rebs per game in a season.

  2. bloggingainteazzy - May 14, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    You make it sound like Lebron guarded him that whole series which was not the case. It was more situational then anything.

  3. dvic13 - May 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    I know exactly when it was. Not even every game of the series and late in the 4th qtr. Point being, the respect given to Rose, that LeBron was put on him, increased his confidence.

  4. bloggingainteazzy - May 14, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Well most teams usually put their best perimeter defender on the best perimeter player.. Goes without saying..

    Derek Rose reminds me to much of Allen Iverson, I don’t think they’re going to beat the heat in this series.

    • andrejohnsonforpresident - May 14, 2011 at 8:12 PM

      Really Allen Iverson?? At the end of Roses career Iverson Won’t even be in te same discussion as Derrick Rose.

    • neeciekay - May 16, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      WELL THANK GOD YOU DON’T GET PAID TO “THINK”!! You just like all the other Chicago-Haters will be revelaed as the dillusional lames you all are, when this series is over and done with!! Give credit where credit is due! D. Rose is the best point guard in the league right now. . . uhh duhh, can you say MVP??, supported by the best defensive team in the league. The Heat couldn’t beat the Bulls in the regular season, nor the post as of last night. The Heat got beat like they stole something, and all of the hype surronding Lebron and D. Wade was quickly hushed!! As it shall continue to be going forward. The “big 3”, cannot hold the big 10 that are the Bulls starters and 2nd unit! Get a grip and go hate on another team/MVP!

      • neeciekay - May 16, 2011 at 10:41 AM

        That comment was for: “andrejohnsonforpresident”, Oh yeah, another newsflash andre, BARACK OBAMA ALREADY GOT THE JOB OF PREZ!! Just can’t keep those Chitonians down. . .no matter how hard you hate!!

  5. dvic13 - May 14, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Maybe right now, but he’s only 22 and already as good if not better than Iverson ever was. Plus he believes in PRACTICE…so he’ll get better.

  6. kyleortonsarm - May 14, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    Rose Bloom. Rose Blooms. Rose Blooming. Rose Bloomed. Holy crap already, we get it. Stop beating that corpse of the horse that died three years ago. Is there a statute of limitations on using the stupidest play on words in sports writing in recent memory?

  7. Chris Ross - May 15, 2011 at 1:35 AM

    The Heat are the better team in this series. Lebron and Wade are really clicking and I think Bosh is due to breakout at some point. Bosh played well in round 1 and I think he can do a better job against Noah/Boozer rather than Garnett/Davis. The 3 point shooting from Bibby, Miller and Jones has got to improve for sure but I think that can happen (well maybe not with Miller). Joel Anthony has been providing a real spark for them and I’m just not convinced that Derrick Rose can continue being this one man show. I mean, his back has got to be hurting at this point.

    • gmsingh - May 15, 2011 at 6:56 PM

      He’s a one man show from all the assists in the last game? Does not compute. Why do so many dudes try to pigeonhole everything? Rose is a multifaceted player–deal with it.

  8. thetooloftools - May 15, 2011 at 2:31 AM

    I’m LeBron James.
    I didn’t say anything stupid today but I’m posting to keep my name out there.

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