By Brian Norris
Derrick Rose is not a great shooter; he never has been. For his career, he shoots 30.1 percent from three. Rose always succeeded (when he succeeded) by using his athleticism and power to get into the paint and to the rim. At his heights, he got to the foul line close to seven times a game and shot 50 percent on twos.
After multiple injuries and vast chunks of lost seasons, Rose is nowhere near his height anymore, yet he still thinks of himself as a score-first point guard because that is what he had always been. For the New York Knicks in 2016-17, they would be much better served to see Rose turn into a distributor and facilitator, making plays for the better scorers on this roster.
This season, Rose is setting a career-low mark by averaging 9.2 feet from the basket on all field-goal attempts. He is playing as close to the basket as he ever has, acknowledging his lack of range. Yet he has connected on one single dunk this entire season according to Basketball Reference. He is playing closer to the rim as well as the ground.
With those limitations, Rose needs to look elsewhere on the floor to make an impact. Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are two of the most talented scorers in the NBA for vastly different reasons. Melo is a star who can create shots for himself in all kinds of locations on the floor. Porzingis, a young superstar on the rise, is a seven-footer with unlimited range. These are archetypes that aren't easily found in the league, and yet, every player is better when getting open looks or being set up on plays from teammates. That is where Rose comes in.
Right now, Rose ranks outside the top 25 in points created off assists. He has also received far more passes than he's made. Though that is common, even for a point guard, it isn't the ideal ratio the Knicks want from Rose. Case in point, Anthony is shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 44.6 percent from three on catch-and-shoot opportunities. Those figures are better than his total attempts this season, and the three-point mark dwarfs even the best three-point shooting season he's ever had.
Porzingis has been similarly great on catch-and-shoot threes. Nearly every volume contributor on the Knicks this season has been better on catch-and-shoots as opposed to pull-ups, except for, ironically, Rose himself. Rose still works best generating points as an offense unto himself, but he is no longer good enough in that vein to carry a roster like he was in his MVP days. His team needs him in other ways now.
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