It feels like it’s been forever since Derrick Rose was carving up defenses and embarrassing opponents on a nightly basis. Coming out of the University of Memphis, Rose was a type of point guard the NBA had yet to see. His athleticism and finishing ability were new to the league and quickly catapulted him to an MVP season in 2010-11.

Since that season, Rose has never been the same. The aftermath of multiple knee injuries has left Rose as a shell of himself; the days of constant explosive attacks on the rim are gone, and when they do happen, it’s shocking. Since Rose’s digression, the Bulls have begun to digress as well. Although it’s slight and includes other factors, Chicago is no longer the contender that they once were.

Derrick Rose’s play sometimes has a negative backlash to it, and we’re going to look at what he & the Bulls can do to help benefit the team. 

No More Threes For Derrick Rose

Drastic? Kind of, not really. Derrick Rose has always struggled from outside the arc and shoots about 30% for his career. This season, Rose is shooting at a 24% clip despite taking only 2.3 attempts per game. He used to be able to get away with poor three-point shooting because of his ability to get to the paint. Now that’s gone. 

There have been 14 games to date this season where Rose has attempted one three or less, and Chicago is 9-5 in those contests; The Bulls are 13-17 when Rose tries two or more. Not only do the Bulls have a higher winning percentage when Rose takes fewer threes, but Rose himself also has a higher field goal percentage overall. Although it’s only three percentage points (42% when less than one; 39% when 2+), it helps because it’s FG% is already low. 

More Distribution

Chicago has a pretty loaded roster: Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, and Doug McDermott is starting to find his place. Derrick Rose is very, very lucky because he lands on a team where he can be the third option. When Rose is willing to defer, and prioritize his teammates’ shots, the Bulls are better off. Although his AST% is at a career low (25.5%), and his assists per game are the second-worst for his career (4.8), those two stats are their highest in Bulls’ victories.

Chicago doesn’t pass the ball much to begin with and sit at 19th in the league in assists. When they are moving the ball, specifically Derrick Rose, they’re more apt to pull off a victory. Rose averages 5.2 assists in wins, and his AST% is at 26.8%. When the ball sticks in Rose’s hands, his APG average drops down to 4.8, and his AST% falls to 22.9%. 

Less Dribbles, More Rest

There are a lot of guys in the NBA who abuse their dribble. While Rose doesn’t necessarily “abuse” the dribble, he’s more productive when using less. On one-dribble pull-ups, Rose is shooting a staggering 49.5%, which is incredibly efficient for how he’s been shooting this year. However, once he takes that second dribble and continues to bounce the ball, his percentage falls to 40.3%. 

Surely Bulls fans don’t want to see Rose sit out games that he doesn’t need to. However, it may be the best thing for Rose on an individual level. Everything he’s been through over the last few seasons has to have impacted his confidence, which influences his play. Rose plays his best off of two days rest — 17.2p/4.5r/4.6a and shoots 45.5% from the field. Contrarily, he plays his worst on back-to-backs, averaging 13.8p/3.1r/3.9a while shooting 36.6%. 

If the Bulls want Rose at his best, and they should because they win when he plays well, coach Hoiberg should look into resting him more. 

The constant injuries, the rise-and-fall as one of the league’s most exciting players, and other factors have noticeably taken a toll on Derrick Rose. He’s a shell of his former self and most likely won’t ever return to the MVP-level he was once at. That doesn’t mean he can’t be effective for the Bulls; they just need to do their best to put him in positions that boost his confidence. 

However, if they do everything they can to help him improve and he doesn’t, the time might come for Chicago to part ways with Derrick Rose.

*All data courtesy of Basketball-Reference and the NBA*

*Photo Credit: Jeff Haynes / Associated Press*