Derrick Rose is shooting 24.1 percent of his shots this season from behind the 3-point line. That’s not a career-high for the former NBA MVP, but it’s a drastic improvement over what he’s been the past few seasons in that area.
The highest frequency of shots he’s taken from 3-point range in his career was in 2014-15 while battling injury. He took 33.7 percent of his shots from deep that year, only knocking down 28.7 percent of them. Back then, Rose was dealing with a multitude of knee issues. He had surgery on his left ACL in 2012, causing him to miss the 2012-13 season and then tore his meniscus in his right knee twice requiring surgery between 2013 and 2015.
It’s easy to point at that as the reason for his inability to attack the rim and tendency to settle for shots from deep. It makes sense that someone that had three knee surgeries in the last three years might not be all that explosive.
Now is a different story, however. For the first time in roughly five years, Rose had a summer in which he didn’t need to focus on rehabbing from an injury and focus on basketball. His ability to get to the rim isn’t quite what it was during the days when he was an MVP candidate, but it’s the closest that it’s been since then.
Still, with that part of his game in play, he’s shooting 3s at a very similar frequency to what he was in his prime. The difference right now is that he’s making them at a far better clip than he ever did in a Bulls uniform.
The best Rose has shot from behind the arc in a full season was his MVP 2010-11 season. He shot 24.1 percent of his shots from deep, making just over 33 percent of those. That frequency he of shots from deep is the same as it is now, but he’s currently shooting a blistering 46 (!!) percent on 3s.
Rose not having to be the focal point in the offense at this point in his career – although on any given night he can lead the team in shots attempted – may play into creating better looks.
With the ball in his hands quite a bit, Rose has seemed to become comfortable taking – and making – 3s off the dribble. That’s the more difficult shot and has proven to be it for Rose, but only very slightly. He’s taking 11.7 percent of his shots as pull-up 3s, and making 42.1 percent of them.
In this one Rose is able to create space between he and his defender just because of the threat that he may get to the rim. Again, his explosiveness isn’t what it once was, but it certainly helps to open up pull-up 3s for him to take.
The same thing happens there with Steph Curry guarding Rose. Curry takes a couple steps back anticipating a drive and it gives Rose more than enough space to get off an open shot from deep.
This one doesn’t create as much space for Rose between he and the defender, but on the night when he scored 50 points, that may not have exactly mattered.
The flip side of this is the catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. This is the shot that many in the game today have made deadly. Rose hasn’t been thought of as a threat in this aspect in his career — it’s difficult for a player that is as ball-dominant as he was in his early days to be much of a threat in that way – but this year he’s been fantastic in that area.
Rose has consistently been able to make defenses pay for leaving him in order to help defend penetration created by Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, or even when Karl-Anthony Towns is in the post.
Just like pull-up 3s, Rose is taking 11.7 percent of his shots catch-and-shoot 3s. He’s shooting them better than the pull-ups, however, making these at a 47.4 percent clip.
The Lakers employed Lonzo Ball as a help defender throughout much of that game, and it led to Rose going 3-for-3 on catch-and-shoot 3s when guarded by Ball.
Look how far away Ball is away from Rose as Butler penetrates into the lane. Rose has more than enough time to get this shot off without being bothered by Ball’s defense.
Ball is in no-man’s-land with his back entirely turned to Rose and loses track of him. This was also a terrific pass from Andrew Wiggins to find Rose in rhythm for the open shot.
Okay, enough picking on Ball, Rose has been able to do this against other defenders, too.
Rose does a really good job of relocating here to find an open area. Even though the pass comes from an odd area, he still has enough time to get his shot up before Ricky Rubio can fully recover from helping to double-team Karl-Anthony Towns.
Again, the Jazz double-team Towns and Rose may never take a more wide-open shot in his career.
Look, will Rose shoot at this high of a percentage for the rest of the season? Probably not. This is a relatively short sample size. But he’s taking and making good shots for the time being. He doesn’t need to be an elite-level 3-point shooter to be effective, and he likely never will be. But shooting between 37-40 percent for the season would be an outstanding thing for this Wolves team and the revitalization of Rose’s career.