True Hoops

True Hoops

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Point Guard Project - Derrick Rose

Welcome to the 10th edition of the Point Guard Project.

Previous participants:
PGP1 - John Lucas
PGP2 - Luke Ridnour
PGP3 - Jrue Holiday
PGP4 - Ricky Rubio
PGP5 - Royal Ivey
PGP6 - Damian Lillard
PGP7 - Derek Fisher
PGP8 - Stephen Curry
PGP9 - Chauncey Billups

Today we are joined by Derrick Rose

You might have heard a lot of talk lately about D. Rose and his possible return to the Bulls this season. Out all year while recovering from a torn ACL, Rose was recently cleared medically to play. However, Rose has maintained for the past month and a half that he is unsure wether he will return this season at all. Of course this has led to numerous rumors and speculation......which will not be discussed here.

The reality is when healthy, Rose is a top 3 point guard in the league and perhaps a top 5 player. Mind you, he is the only player in the last 4 years to win MVP other than LeBron.

In his MVP year, Rose averaged 25 points and almost 8 assists a game while leading Chicago to the 1 seed in the East. For his career he is at 21 and 7, respectively.
24 years old and waiting to play his 5th year in the league, Rose is listed as 6'3" and 190 ibs. He was drafted #1 overall by Chicago in '08 out of Memphis (after leading them to the championship game).

He also won a gold medal with team USA during the 2010 World Championships.

Mr. Rose, welcome to the Point Guard Project:

Summary of responses:

1) Grew up watching Michael Jordan (you think?). But never wanted to play like anyone. Everyone has their own way of playing. You can take some moves from people but can't take their whole game.

2) Memorable point guard match-up: First game in the league was against Jason Kidd. It was pretty awesome. They (the Bulls) Lost. But it was still great.

3) Job of a point guard: Be the captain on the team. The point guard leads other players and sees if anyone is down. Picks others up emotionally. Has to make sure the game is very stable and make sure the offense is runs correctly. And being the voice while the coach is sitting down.

4) Pass vs shoot: Different for him - he is a scoring point guard. He has to score. Pass? Not really.

5) Typical workout: Hard. Go for about an hour and a half. Take a lot of jumpers,  probably 500-700. A lot of floaters and lay-ups and finishing with contact.

6) For aspiring point guards: Love the game. Appreciate it. Dedicate your lives to it and take it very serious.

Short and to the......point.

Growing up in Chicago, I would have been more shocked if Derrick said he watched anyone other than Jordan growing up. But there is an interesting consequence when a point guard takes moves from Jordan. I suppose the logical result would be a player like Derrick Rose - an extremely athletic & powerful scoring point guard. But think about how this has changed the norm for his position in the game today.

I do like the fact that he mentioned he "never tried to play like anyone else." This is actually a really important realization.

With regards to when to pass vs. shoot, it's obvious that when healthy Derrick is the best player on his team and the best scorer. And there is no point in denying this and not playing to his strengths. Absolutely he should always be looking to score first and get assists as a result of the defense converging on him and leaving his teammates open. Of course - it does take practice to read defenses and still be willing to make the right pass. More times than not, Rose will face a double team - so it is a hard task not to overpass and play into the defense's priority of getting the ball out of his hands. At the same time, there is a balance to keeping the ball when facing a double team and making your teammates happy by not taking bad shots over 2-3 people when someone else is open.

But either way, it seems like in the past year the answer of when to pass vs. shoot has become more clear for Rose. Listen to his response when I asked him the same question about a year ago:

Pass vs. Shoot

Last year, there was no question he seemed to still be learning the game and figuring out how to balance his incredible skills with his leadership obligation. And it was mentioned that his coach has to constantly remind him - yell at him if need be - that he is Chicago's first and second option offensively (I would say that is great coaching). He response this year was almost as comical as it was self-assurded: "He is a scoring guard - he has to score." "Pass, not so much."

So here you have a case where a point guard shouldn't be looking to pass first. And for him and his team, this is actually the right way to play.

Finally, I found his advice for aspiring point guards interesting and telling of his current situation.
"Appreciate the game."
After going from reigning MVP to not playing for a whole year - I'm sure Rose has a new found appreciation for the game. As great and young as these players are, nothing is guaranteed. And that's just about the truth in everything. I guess you can say there is something to living in the moment and always putting your best foot forward - because you never know how long something will last.

And how about:
"Love the game."
"Dedicate your lives to it."

Don't get me started on love and dedication.
My first year coaching high school basketball I asked my kids:
"Have you ever dedicated yourselves entirely to something?"

Isn't this a requisite for love? Yes. But I would say, as much as this is a necessity - it is also a concept that can evoke a lot of fear. The question that inevitably comes up is "what if I fail?" What if I dedicate my life to something and I don't succeed? And let's be honest, for aspiring point guards, most of you won't become Derrick Rose.
I didn't.
But that's okay.

I would argue, it's the process itself that is most important. The simple act of dedication - as irrational as it may be - to a game. It will transform you. No question there are things more important than basketball. But perhaps basketball can prepare you for those other things. The trick is knowing when to apply the ability of love and dedication, as well as the transformation it induces, off the court to areas that become more important - relationships and helping others. And in that regard "love for the game" becomes transferable and actually has the ability to transform others as well.

You can also argue that whether or not you obtain your ultimate goal (although these things change over time), just having experienced that sort of love and dedication - the act itself - is the important thing.

Is this a basketball blog or a romantic novel???
Well I never claimed not be be a romantic at heart.

But I believe this. And when you hear someone like Derrick Rose mention this - it evokes a an appreciation and respect for those that follow their passion.

And that's a journey worth taking.

Much thanks to Derrick Rose for his time!
I hope you enjoyed this addition of the Point Guard Project!
Stay tuned for more!

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