clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bulls vs. Bucks: The merits of Derrick Rose's hero-ball

The story from last night could be an overall poor defensive night (including from Rose himself), but that's likely only gonna come up rarely when it comes to this Bulls team. What will probably come up far more often is late-and-close game strategy.

Bulls by the Horns digs in deeper with help from their mothership:

Somewhat ironically, Henry Abbott just published two articles - one on TrueHoop and the other in ESPN the Magazine - that debunk the NBA's greatest myth: That letting your best player isolate in crunch time is the best decision.

It isn't.

Abbott's research shows that isolation plays are significantly less successful than any other kind of play that can be run. It also uncovered that this season's Bulls squad ranks 28th in the league in Effective Field Goal Percentage in the final three minutes when trailing by 3 or less or tied (31.8 percent). Only the Bucks (28.3 percent) and Cavaliers (28.2 percent) are worse.

Abbott also provided a link to a blog post by Jordan Sams of Liberty Ballers that uses the Basketball-Reference Shot Finder to track various "clutch" statistics. Based on Sams' research, Rose has shot 27.6 percent in the final minute of games over the course of his career. Rose's percentage drops to 22.5 in the final 24 seconds. According to Sams' charts, that puts Rose near the bottom of the list of the players who met his clutch shooting criteria (basically number of shots attempted).

Presumably, this suggests that Rose's game-winner was an aberration. An example of a bad play that happened to work.

This is an interesting take, certainly moreso than Carlos Boozer's own research stating that "This is the play: Get the ball to D-Rose, and everybody else get out of the way. And it works every time."

D-Rose step-back jumper for the win! (via NBA)

I hope it was just Carlos being...whatever he is, and that there was more to it than that. I think that last night's circumstances was uniquely suited for that kind of 'play', though, as I said in the recap:

It also helped that the Bucks left poor Brandon Jennings out on an island to defend the much bigger Rose. It looked like help may have been starting to commit, but it never came. It was a case where getting the ball into your best players hands and doing nothing else was actually the right play, and resulted in an absolute killer of an attempt by Rose.

Again, the key here is that not only did the Bucks only use a single defender on Rose, it was the much smaller Brandon Jennings. Rose is way more likely to get space in that circumstance than (LET'S SAY) LeBron James in a very similar looking attempt in the ECF last year. Or earlier this season against Miami you can see the tougher road for Rose against both a better initial defender and team scheme.

That was an actual play with player and ball movement which wasn't quite pure isolation. I think that last night doing the latter was absolutely right. Just hope that Thibs has more ideas than Carlos Boozer for future occasions.