[Thanks to Dane for this video breakdown -yfbb]
Much has been made about Derrick Rose and his return to efficiency in 2016. The beleaguered Chicago Bulls star had a rough start to the season, but as the calendar year turned anew, there was a marked difference in Rose's impact on the box score.
His points, field goal percentage and finishing all took a jump after January 1 in what Chicago fans are hoping is a slow return to normalcy for Rose. We've covered his rise here at Blog A Bull, and so too have they at places like Sporting News and Hoops Habit.
What’s most significant is his percentage on drives, where he has attacked the rim with the same frequency yet raised his accuracy by a whopping 14 percentage points, from 44 percent to 58 percent.
There are several factors that could go into this, but I’ve decided to look just at what Rose is doing himself on attempts at the rim by looking at film of nearly 300 shots by the former MVP.
Find out what's changed by watching the video above or reading the breakdown below.
Rose has done a better job of protecting the ball with two hands both on the floor and while he elevates.
In the 2015 part of the season, he would secure the ball low with two hands but as he elevated, was quick to use one arm to block and another to try and scoop or float the ball up on shots.
In the example above, you can see that he’s now keeping both hands on the ball while he elevates, using his off elbow to cleverly clear space while still controlling the ball before finally releasing and shooting with one hand.
In 2015 Rose seemed unable to get around defenders with his first step and didn't challenge opposing big men at the rim. Instead, Rose took off from the bottom of the jump ball circle just below the free-throw line with alarming frequency on drives to the paint:
You’d expect that to be where Rose would (and indeed does) jump from on floaters. But he often tried to use this area of the floor to stretch around defenders while continuing for a layup at the basket.
This resulted in a lot of blocks, misses, and complaints from Rose about uncalled fouls.
In 2016, he looks determined to get deeper into the paint before elevating. Many of his drives now end with lateral moves off jump stops much closer to the block or restricted area.
Change of Direction
This is where Rose has put it all together. In the first part of the year, he was taking angular attacks to the basket. Around a pick, right to the hole.
Now Rose is snaking through the middle of the paint, splitting picks and using his jump stops and ball protection to move laterally.
This has allowed him to mix in smart ways to protect the ball by using the rim with the dazzling up and under scoop shots we’ve sort of expected as a D Rose signature move.
This play against the Cavs (above) is a perfect example of what we have been talking about today. After getting deep into the paint, Rose protects the ball with two hands. He changes direction with a little hop, then switches the ball to the other side of his body to clear space and make it more difficult for defenders. Then he uses the rim for protection.
He uses this little sequence on his drives often, and it’s worked out well for him.
There are other factors at play here. Rose has had more time to adapt to his depth perception issues after eye surgery, he’s carried a larger offensive load when Jimmy Butler is out, and he had some time to recover from nagging injuries (although that's changed in the last week).
That said, it seems like Rose made a conscious choice to get deeper into the paint and be more savvy with the ball. The big question moving forward is how his increased efficiency affects his teammates, how they will work together and if the Bulls can solidify as they prepare for the playoffs.
You can view more NBA content like this on Dane Carbaugh's YouTube channel The Rewind.