Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rose Among NBA's Elite

One month into the NBA season and Derrick Rose has already staked his claim as the top rookie selected this past June. Rose has clearly been the most consistent player on the Bulls, who finish this month with an 8-9 record, despite playing the last seven games on the road.

Coming into the league, it was obvious that Rose possesses great size and quickness along with a knack for finishing in traffic. His main knock coming out of the University of Memphis was that his jump shot is shaky. However, opponents have seen that Rose uses his speed while dribbling so well that when he accelerates and stops on a dime, his man is nowhere to be found. Rose can rise up and take a midrange jumper completely unguarded.

Rose’s next step in development will be to improve his shot off the catch and increase his range. These are both traits that fellow NBA star point guards, Chris Paul and Deron Williams, needed to develop to become what they are today. As analysts have tried to compare the Bulls rookie point guard these two guys are always the first mentioned. Taking Paul and Williams’ rookie season averages in comparison to Rose’s thus far, you see that Rose has them beat in many statistical categories:

Rose – 37.9 MPG, 48.7 FG%, 36.8 3P%, 85.2 FT%, 4.1 RPG,
6.0 APG, 1 SPG, 2.7 TO, 18.4 PPG

Paul – 36.0 MPG, 43.0 FG%, 28.2 3P%, 84.7 FT%, 5.1 RPG,
7.8 APG, 2.2 SPG, 2.3 TO, 16.1 PPG

Williams - 28.9 MPG, 42.1 FG%, 41.6 3P%, 70.4 FT%, 2.4 RPG,
4.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.8 TO, 10.8 PPG

Some may argue that Rose’s assist numbers are not nearly as high as they should be for a true point guard. However, this is a reflection of his teammates around him. The Bulls are currently 25th in the NBA in field goal percentage, shooting 43.4% from the floor. Chicago does not have a big man averaging over 14 points per game, which also hurts Rose's ability to rack up assists. In fact, two of the Bulls top big men, Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomaas, are shooting only 40% and 33% respectively.

Since the ball tipped in the first game this season, Rose has not only been the most consistent player on the Bulls, but in the entire NBA. He has scored in double-digits every game, except on November 19 against Portland, where the Bulls lost 116-74 and Rose played just under 30 minutes. He also ranks 11th in the NBA in total minutes played and leads his team in assists.

Rose is one of only seven players to average more than 18 points per game, 4 rebounds per game and 5 assists per game.

1) Dwayne Wade – Heat, 28.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 7.6 APG
2) LeBron James – Cavs, 27.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 6.4 APG
3) Joe Johnson – Hawks, 22.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 5.4 APG
4) Stephen Jackson – Warriors, 21.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 6.4 APG
5) Brandon Roy – Blazers, 20.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.3 APG
6) Chris Paul – Hornets, 20.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 11.6 APG
7) Derrick Rose – Bulls, 18.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 6.0 APG

Most importantly, Rose has already gained respect from opposing players and coaches just 17 games into his professional career.

Warriors head coach Don Nelson said, “"We're big Rose fans here, love to watch him play, love to watch him as he gets better in games. Wow, second half, he put on a show, an incredibly talented point guard. He's right up there with the best of them, in a short period of time.”

Suns guard Raja Bell said, “He's obviously very explosive. He's a highlight reel waiting to happen,'' Bell said. "I'm excited to see where he goes from here. He's a really, really good player.''

Warriors forward Stephen Jackson said, "Rose is good, oh man. For a young guy to take over that game like that, regardless of who he's playing, that's real impressive. I'm definitely a Derrick Rose fan. I will have one of his jerseys up in my house."

Pacers head coach Jim O’Brien stated it best when he said, "That's a rookie that's going to blossom sooner than people think he is. He's going to be a great player, maybe as soon as the end of this year. When he's knocking down 3s, he's a very, very difficult guy to guard.''

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tyler Hansbrough/Mark Madsen

As we move along in November, I feel it is now the perfect time to remind people of the truth behind everyone's favorite Caucasian, power forward with multiple All-American awards. Described by many to play with "sharp intensity" and a "real winner", he certainly is a high motor guy, who plays with great strength and toughness. Unfortunately for his future, he possesses minimal ball-handling skills and lacks any type of lateral quickness. Despite being a 6'9" power forward, he has no go-to post move beyond a quick turnaround jumper and certainly has no counter move to this.

His stats? He has been nearly a double-double guy in each of his three college seasons and has shot above 52% from the field each year. His shot blocking numbers show a lack of ability to protect the basket - never averaging over 1 block per game. His teams' success? Despite winning 23 or more games in each of his college seasons, and playing with multiple NBA players, the team has lost in the final four once and been upset early in their other two tournament appearances.

Nicknamed for his passionate play, Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen parlayed his senior season of college into becoming the 29th pick in the 2000 draft.

In the name of Joakim Noah, Bobby Hurley, Adam Morrison, and of course, J.J. Redick, enjoy your senior season of college basketball, Tyler Hansbrough. This is the last year you will be an impact player on a basketball team.