For two years now Chicago Bulls fans have been waiting for Derrick Rose to return to full strength and lead the Bulls back to the cusp of the championship glory the team experienced during the 90s. The Bulls came close in 2011, but lost to the Miami Heat in five games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Provided Rose returns to form and stays healthy, some changes have to be made if Chicago wants to have a legitimate shot to beat the Heat. The biggest change has to happen in Rose’s game. He fell in love with the 3-point shot during his MVP season and hoisted the three-ball at an alarming rate.
Rose shot 385 threes in 2011, which is a ridiculous amount for the primary ball handler on any team.
For some perspective: Ray Allen, arguably the greatest long range shooter ever, shot 378 three pointers in 2011. Allen Iverson, a generational icon who never met a shot he didn’t like, shot 306 3-pointers the year he willed the Philadelphia 76ers to the finals. Not counting his rookie season in which he shot 455, that was his second highest career total.
When Rose returns he has to make the mid range jumper a larger part of his game. Rose has the ability to beat any defender off the dribble, but taking the ball to the basket and absorbing contact takes its toll during the course of an 82-game season.
Rose does not attempt to flop and sell the contact on his drives to the rim like a lot of players in the NBA, so he does not get rewarded with trips to the foul line the way he should. The mid-range jumper minimizes unnecessary contact and still allows the Bulls to utilize one of their greatest strengths — offensive rebounding.
Rose shoots a ton of threes, but he has to realize that he isn’t going to beat Miami from behind the 3-point line. Isaiah Thomas, and to a lesser extent Tony Parker, are the only point guards to lead their team to a championship as the team’s primary scorer.
If Rose wants the Bulls to reach the promised land he has to utilize the weapon that allowed the above mentioned point guards to dominate the competition in their respective eras — the mid-range jump shot.