The NBA's 30 Best Go-To Players / Nov 9, 2010 / 1:00 pm

Ranking the NBA’s 30 Go-To Guys (#13: Derrick Rose)

Derrick Rose (photo. adidas)

Derrick Rose (photo. adidas)

Who do you want your offense to run through with the game on the line? Counting down from 30th to 1st (one per team), I’ve ranked the League’s go-to guys…

DERRICK ROSE, Chicago Bulls
The end of the era was about four years ago. The funeral was held over the past week.

Once upon a time, “score-first” point guards ran the NBA. At a time when quickness became more coveted than size, and the influences of Michael Jordan (long-term) and the AND 1 Mix Tape style (short-term) took hold, men like Allen Iverson, Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury and Baron Davis thrived. It’s not like the old-school point guards that purists canonize — John Stockton, Walt Frazier, Bob Cousy — didn’t have their share of explosive scoring nights. But in the score-first point guard era it was common for your “distributor” to drop 30 points on 28 shots, to force his will to get buckets even if it shut down offensive flow.

But then Steve Nash found his perfect system, and we developed a new appreciation for Jason Kidd, and Chris Paul hit the scene, Hot Sauce fell off the map, and suddenly passing the rock became cool again. For the score-first point guard, funeral services took place over the past week; the ashes spread over Turkey, China and the L.A. Clippers’ bench.

And yet, for better or worse, Derrick Rose keeps the legacy alive. Don’t let the 9.2 assists per game fool you; D-Rose is a scoring point guard who can pass, not vice versa. He briefly led the NBA in scoring this year, but before the negative Iverson comparisons developed, he ran off a string of games with double-digit assists. The fact remains: Rose’s best skill is getting to his spot to get off his shot.

How well he does that in crunch time will determine how far the Chicago Bulls advance toward a seventh (and eighth, and ninth) championship for the franchise. Last season he ranked 15th in the NBA in “clutch time” scoring and 8th in assists. This season Rose already has one clutch performance for the highlight reels, dropping 39 points on the Pistons while leading a come-from-behind victory in which the Bulls were down by 21 in the second half. Last night against the Nuggets, Rose’s step-back jumpers and acrobatic finishes at the rim in the fourth quarter propelled Chicago to another close win.

In Hubie Brown‘s perfect world, the Bulls’ point guard wouldn’t have to be its points guard, but what choice does Rose have? Things were different when Ben Gordon was in Chicago, and maybe things will be different again once Carlos Boozer can don the Bulls’ uniform, but for now Rose has to be the go-to scorer. His team needs him to be a threat to drop 35 a night, just as much as Dallas needs Dirk, as Denver needs Carmelo, as Oklahoma City needs Kevin Durant.

So rather than bemoan the fact that D-Rose is averaging 21 shot attempts per game to produce his 23.8 points per game, appreciate the talent that takes. Respect that Rose — often the shortest, always the fastest player on the court, the kid who allegedly doesn’t have a jumper — is getting buckets at a higher clip than Kobe Bryant, Tyreke Evans, Danny Granger, LeBron James and Brandon Roy right now.

Is Derrick Rose the next Allen Iverson? Signs may point to yes. But who said that was a bad thing?

*** *** ***

14. Tyreke Evans (Kings)
15. Vince Carter (Magic)
16. Gilbert Arenas (Wizards)
17. Amar’e Stoudemire (Knicks)
18. Monta Ellis (Warriors)
19. Danny Granger (Pacers)
20. John Salmons (Bucks)
21. Rudy Gay (Grizzlies)
22. Stephen Jackson (Bobcats)
23. Baron Davis (Clippers)
24. Ben Gordon (Pistons)
25. Andre Iguodala (76ers)
26. Yao Ming (Rockets)
27. Mo Williams (Cavaliers)
28. Brook Lopez (Nets)
29. Andrea Bargnani (Raptors)
30. Michael Beasley (Timberwolves)

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  • jerkishbehavior.com

    Mark my words…DRose will finish top 3 in MVP voting this yr and might fuck around win it depending on Durant/OKCs & Dwight/ORLs, CP3/NOs success.

  • eazy yeezy

    Rose constantly is the number 1 option on what was the most offensively inefficient team in the league. He’s led them to 2 straight playoff appearances and the fact that he managed to average 6+ assists/game in his first two years on a team that lived by shooting ugly, contested 2’s shows what kind of player he is. Expect that 23/9 he’s dropping to hit 21/11 once Boozer comes back and gives DRose the first sure-fire offensive option he’s ever had!

  • ecco

    kind of funny of you think about it, rose is the first “superstar” player on this go to list, and while the article is written in a positive tone that actually makes him a bad go to guy ( not even top10! ).

    he will be as close to barin davis ( 23 ) as
    to the top 3 :D

  • Joe’s Momma

    Rose is a gem. I like his calm demeanor and his relentless attacking of the paint. He has been saying that instead of avoiding contact, he will try to create contact when he is attacking. This will only enhance Rose’s beastness.

    That final play in regulation against the Celtics last week, he was fouled by Rondo. Rondo falls down then lunges towards Rose knocking him sideways and is a non-call? I like how they are easing up on the silly incidental contact on the perimeter, but Rondo literally pushes Rose to the help on that play.

    I hear people say negatives about Rose now that he has been in the league for a few years, but I don’t get it. Put any other pg, in their 1st and 2nd year in the league and lets see how many take that Bulls team to the playoffs? Stop hating because the boy’s jumper is still in progress, because this boy is legit.

  • Promoman

    Outside of speed, Derrick isn’t in the Allen Iverson mold. He still has work to do to improve but he has the willingness to do so and he doesn’t have any of the issues that Iverson has.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    I can’t tell you how far off you are on your analysis of Rose. If you watch the games (not just this year, but the playoffs and his first two yearS) you would know there is now way kid is a score first pg. In college they had to force him to shoot more and the same thing has happened in the NBA. Rose scores out of necessity for the team to win. He is more a 50/50 score vs pass pg. It doesn’t matter either way in his mind as long as he gets the win.

    case in point
    first two games of the season he scores 30+ pts and is gunning 25+ FGA per. But as soon as Loul Deng caught fire on his way to 40pts, Rose passed up several shots just to get the ball to Deng through an assist or a hockey assist. But of course you missed that. Even last night vs the Nuggets he was passing until he realized his teammates weren’t making shots anymore and he started trying to score. then he realized his jumper was off and he wasn’t getting resepect from the refs so he started driving and passing.

  • Badger

    @Chicagorilla — How can you say the analysis of D-Rose is way off, then say yourself Rose is “more of a 50/50 score vs pass PG.” If Rose were 51/49 score vs pass, that would still make him a score-first PG. That’s not far off from what you said.

  • PlaygroundMaven

    Does that guy ever know what’s he’s talking about?

  • Detroit Dave

    Flat out the guys is a beast. You have him on your team and a good coach will make it WORK! He gets buckets and dishes the rock. It’s not his fault that he can get to the basket and finish.

  • NYC-Playa

    Many Point guards over the years could “Get to the basket and finish” and learned the hard way not to.

    Just cause you can do it, it doesn’t mean you should.

    But to each his own. Rose is still a over-hyped athlete, who’s willing, but still trying to learn to play point guard.