Chi Local – A Change in Derrick Rose’s Style of Play Might be Appropriate

Posted: April 12, 2012 in Okafor's Corner
Tags: , , , ,

During the NBA All-Star break, superstar point-guard, Chris Paul, appeared on the B.S. Report and offered this nugget on how he has modified his game in hopes of cutting down his injuries.

“I think back [to] my first two years in the NBA, I was top-5 in the NBA in free throws attempted per game. I just went in there reckless. I remember I cracked my ribs. I was getting injured and stuff like that and then I got the mid-range and just started pulling up. I’ll still go in there depending on the game situation but just being able to stop in the middle of the lane and shoot it before the defense gets to me to put you on the floor and stuff like that.”

Paul exaggerated his rank in the league as it pertains to free throws per game—he only ranked 22nd and 42nd in free throw attempts in his first two seasons—but his style of play has changed. According to hoopdata.com, Paul’s shots at the rim per game have dropped from 4, 3.9, and 4.4 during in his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seasons respectively to 2.9, 2.1, and 2.8 in his last three (hoopdata.com didn’t start collecting data until 2007, Paul’s second year).

There is a lot of logic to Paul’s thinking. Attacking the rim results in many violent collisions and presumably, your chances of suffering a significant injury increases with each collision. However, he neglects to mention that injuries happen at any place on the court—see Ricky Rubio’s ACL tear or Chauncey Billups’ ruptured Achilles tendon—but limiting your amount of advances at the rim in order to avoid injuries does make a lot of sense, especially for someone as small as Paul [6 feet tall (barely) and 175 pounds].

Derrick Rose should adopt Paul’s mindset and adjust his game in a similar fashion. Relentlessly and fearlessly, Rose attacks the rim with a ferocity that is unmatched by very few, resulting in countless, cringe-inducing tumbles. This season, he has averaged 6.3 shot attempts at rim per game, placing him 3rd among guards and 12th overall, per hoopdata.com. Unfortunately, at just over 6-1 and 190 pounds, the pounding that comes from driving in the lane with great vigor takes a great toll on Rose’s body. Until this year, he was able to avoid the injuries that cause a player to miss a significant amount of time.

This past Sunday, Rose suffered an injury for the fourth time this season. First, it was a turf toe, then back spasms, followed by a torn groin, and most recently, a sprained ankle that caused him to wear a protective boot on Monday and miss the game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday. Unlike Rose’s first three seasons during which he was extremely durable—only missing a total of six regular season games—he has missed 23 games this year.

It should be noted that his increased absence this year is partly due to the shortened season—the rapid succession of games doesn’t afford players the usual time to heal between games—and since the Bulls have played very well without him, the team can afford to give him lengthy periods to recuperate. But considering Rose’s relatively small size coupled with his predominantly attack style of play, it is not outrageous to think that his inability to stay healthy this season indicates that there may be future injury-plagued seasons if he doesn’t alter his game.

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