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The Derrick Rose 3-point conundrum

Rose is shooting the ball terribly from three, but he seems intent on launching those shots up if the defense gives it to him.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Rose's three-point shooting has been a hot topic around these parts of late, and with 2014 coming to a close with another pitiful 0-of-5 showing from deep in a 96-82 clunker against the Nets, it's time we officially address it.

With this latest dud from long range, Rose wraps up a December in which he shot 23.3 percent from distance. That's a problem in itself, but the bigger problem is that he took 5.6 three-point attempts per game this month. For the season, Rose is at 26.3 percent from three on 5.4 attempts.

You don't need a basketball savant to tell you that's terrible. And for reference, Rose is the worst in the league among players attempting over five three-pointers per game. Kobe Bryant and C.J. Miles are the only other two regulars on the list who are under 30 percent, and Kobe has been ridiculed immensely for his horrendous shot selection while Miles is having a down year after two strong three-point shooting seasons.

Rose has never been a particularly good three-point shooter. He's under 31 percent for his career, and his best mark while playing a full season was 33.2 percent during his MVP year. That's at least respectable, but I still wasn't crazy about him taking nearly five attempts per game that season either, because there were plenty of bad attempts in there.

This year, it's just embarrassingly bad, but that won't deter Rose from continuing to launch:

I mean, he has seen shots go down and CLEARLY his confidence is high, but that doesn't seem to be helping his three-point shooting:


It's true that Rose has been uncharacteristically bad with his shooting overall the last two games. Not only did he miss threes, but he missed mid-range shots and a few floaters that he had been hitting before. Here's what 7-of-35 looks like on a shot chart:

Rose bad shot chart

Rose had been making over 54.2 percent of his two-point shots prior to the last two nights, so he was due for a bit of regression. But the shitty three-point shooting has been a thing all season (and basically his whole career), and yet, he's talking like it really hasn't been a long-term issue.

I understand the desire to keep the defense honest, especially when the opponent is giving space and baiting Rose into shots. I also get him wanting to use his jumper to help preserve his body from wear-and-tear. But there are ways to do this without continuously throwing up horrendous three-point attempts. We've seen it happen THIS season. Is it a coincidence that in his best three games of the year (POR, TOR, WAS), he took eight threes total? I think not.

I don't think Rose needs to completely eliminate the three-ball from his game. I just want him to eliminate certain attempts. Any Rose PUJIT (pull-up jumper in transition) should basically never happen. Three-pointers early in the shot clock shouldn't happen unless he's WIDE OPEN, and even then, I wouldn't mind him passing up the shot. He's taking nearly two three-pointers per game that are considered early or very early in the shot clock (24-15 seconds left), per SportVU, which is too many. I'm pretty convinced the Bulls can almost always find a higher percentage look later in the clock than a Rose three early in the clock.

If it were my call, Rose would exclusively stick to catch-and-shoot threes for the time being, even though he's only shooting a tad better on those than on pull-ups. (about 28 percent to 25 percent). I feel like sticking to those catch-and-shoot attempts in rhythm would be a better way to find his stroke than some of the off-balanced pull-ups off the dribble. However, I know this isn't realistic at all, and there will be times where he needs to shoot pull-up threes.

In my ideal world, Rose cuts his three-point attempts by at least half and gets his three-point percentage up to around 34 or 35 percent. I know that's a bit far-fetched, but I think it's attainable if he takes the right shots. If he can do that, then maybe he can start taking more again.

Right now, it's just painful watching him launch up these flat three-pointers that have little prayer of going in. Maybe he shoves this all in my face and starts making a bunch more of these shots in the near future, but prior history says that's a long shot.

The positive here is that there's still a long way to go for Rose to figure this thing out, and the Bulls still have been generally great offensively despite these poor shots. It's a scary thing for the rest of the league to think about how there's still significant room for improvement, and it's fun to imagine what the offense will look like if they can truly get clicking on all cylinders.

And of course, I'm glad I'm able to complain about Rose taking bad threes instead of complaining about him being in a suit. So we have that going for us.

Have a Happy New Year, Blog a Bull.