Scott Rafferty recently wrote an article for Sporting News suggesting that Hawks' backup PG Dennis Schröder should ditch the Rondo comparisons and try to mimic Tony Parker's game instead. Schröder isn't the only guard who could use this advice - Derrick Rose could benefit a lot from studying Parker as well.
The Parker Blueprint - Only Take Open 3's
Parker is the perfect mold for point guards who are great at getting to the rim but struggle with their outside shot. While Rose was elite at midrange jumpers early on in his career, his jump shooting has taken a huge nosedive, particularly from 3.
Like Rose, Parker went through a period early on in his career where his inability to shoot from outside was hampering his game. Parker solved his early shooting woes by focusing more on his midrange game and taking 3's only as a sort of last resort shot.
Try to find out what Tony Parker shot on closely contested 3's last year and you can't find the number. That's because he didn't attempt any. Parker knows he's not a 3 point shooting wizard, so he is extremely selective with his shot. He only takes 1.3 attempts per game, and they're almost all when he's open or wide open:
Parker is self-aware enough to know that even though he was great at 3's last season, he wouldn't be able to sustain a high percentage if he increased his attempts. He didn't even take enough 3's to qualify for the NBA leaderboards, but if he did he would have been 7th in the league at 42.7%. For Parker, a 3 is a last resort shot if he is truly wide open.
Rose is the Hyde to Parker's Jekyll. Parker has solved his long-distance woes by recognizing that he needs to be ridiculously selective with his shot. Rose tries to attack the same problem by stubbornly shooting more and shooting from everywhere:
*Note: Rose's % on wide open 3's goes up to 27.8% if you remove desperation heaves.
I've written in the past a lot about how Rose could benefit from ditching his 3 pointers, but maybe a more prudent approach is what Tony Parker has done. Parker has transformed himself from a very poor 3 point shooter early on in his career to among the league leaders in 3 point percentage by exercising extreme judiciousness in choosing when to shoot those 3's - he only shoots 16% of his 3's with a defender within 4 feet of him. Meanwhile, Rose makes things way harder for himself by taking way too many contested 3's.
Rose compounds his problem as well because unlike Parker, he refuses to accept that he is not good at shooting 3's. If a defense sags off him, he takes it as a personal insult and is determined to prove it is a mistake.
Last year, ESPN's Jon Greenberg asked Rose about his 3 point shooting in a postgame presser. This is what Rose had to say:
"My mentality is not going to change," Rose said. "I'm going to shoot the ball. I'm a scoring guard."
"I'm taking whatever they give me," Rose said. "I'm not going to let anyone dictate the way that I play. If they're giving me shots, I'm going to take them. Shots that I normally make, I'm going to keep taking them. I could care less what anyone says or talk about my game. They're giving me shots, I should be able to make those shots."
Teams bait Rose into settling for 3's all the time and Rose foolishly takes the bait. He goes away from what he's great at to prove opposing coaches wrong. It's time for Rose to swallow his pride and go with the Parker approach - take one 3 a game to keep the defense honest.
Use The Floater and Attack Midrange:
It's been talked to death about how shots at the rim are the good shots that teams should strive for. Rose and Parker are both lightning-quick and great at getting to the rim.
They are also both unique in that they take advantage of a dead zone for most players, the distance that is not-quite at the rim, but not in long 2 territory either.
Let's compare their shot selection:
Stats from PointAfter
The yellow chunk is what's interesting - that range from 4-16 feet. Generally, analytics disfavors this shot zone as one of the most inefficient in the game. However, Rose and Parker both excel in this area, and for good reason. They have two of the best floaters in the league.
Somehow, Rose shoots 59% on floaters. The level of difficulty on some of those shots is absurd, but it's a shot Rose is great at that he can get off at any angle in the dead zone of the court. He's says it's a shot he loves and that he took from Steve Nash:
Rose has used his floater in the past a lot as a go-to move for game winners very effectively (even dating back to his high school days), and although it comprises a big chunk of his shots already (7.5% of all FGA), he'd benefit by eschewing so many 3's in favor of using his floater even more.
Parker is probably the best player in the league at floaters. He shoots 65% on those shots, and he shoots them a lot. Parker is able to use his floater in conjunction with his drives to get most of his shots going at the rim.
Years ago, there was a growing movement of people saying that Rose needed to develop a 3 pointer to open up driving lanes for himself. Parker has shown that there is another, better way for guards who aren't gifted shooters to open up the court. You can be a very low volume 3 point shooter like Parker and still get a big chunk of your shots off of drives to the basket by attacking the midrange area off the dribble.
Rely on Your Teammates
Another way Rose can really learn from Parker is to trust his teammates more.
Parker took about 12 shots per game last season and was very efficient from all around the court, shooting 49%/43%/78%. Rose shot much worse from everywhere and took 16 shots per game, shooting 41%/28%/81%.
Rose's efficiency could go up a ton if he eliminated all the poor shots he was taking and sticks to what he is good at - getting to the rim and shooting it close to the basket. Parker and Rose are both surrounded by good offensive players. Rose should do as Parker does and use them, especially when it comes to shooting 3's.
The Spurs were 5th in 3 point percentage last year at 36.7% because Parker let the specialists on the team shoot. If you subtract Rose's 3's from the team, the Bulls would have been a tenth of a point behind the Spurs, at 36.6%. The Bulls could legitimately be a top-five 3 point shooting team in the upcoming season if Rose just lets the other guys handle shooting 3's.
This isn't to say that Rose shoots too much, it's more that he doesn't recognize what he is good at and shoots from the wrong spots. He should take a page out of Parker's book and be honest with himself, stop taking 3's, and punish teams by driving to set up himself and teammates this year.