Heartbroken. Saddened. Jolted.
Those were the first three words electrified into my mind upon hearing the news that Bulls point guard Derrick Rose would need a third knee surgery. The basketball gods can be brutally unfair, as we’ve seen over the years. Gifted “can’t miss locks” like Rose, Brandon Roy, Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden, Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill were each reduced to shells of themselves, as injuries snatched their potential greatness.
In Rose, we will be further cheated out of the player whose fearless forays to the basket and ability to carry a team on his shoulders was perfectly defined during his MVP season of 2010-11, when he hit a career-high 23.5 player efficiency rating (PER). In the past four seasons, the magic has fizzled away; it’s bound to happen when a player can’t stay healthy, as Rose has unfortunately illustrated.
Yet, for what it’s worth, the loss of Rose won’t make as big a Fantasy impact as you might think once you shake off the sting and begin to dig deeper into his numbers. Rose’s value had already begun to show clear signs of decline long before Tuesday’s devastating news, so astute Rose owners may actually receive a pick-me-up if they know where to look.
Rose was averaging 18.4 points per game, which ranked 20th in the NBA. Yet, those points came at a stiff price to the field goal percentages of Fantasy owners. He was shooting just 40.7 percent from the field, while his three-point percentage (28.4) further dragged down his value. Rose’s accuracy has fallen since his 48.9 percent mark in 2009-10, although he has decreased the number of times he’s hoisted up shots per night, going from 19.7 attempts per game in 2010-11 to 16.9 this season.
As for his PER, Rose was at 16.0 this season, putting him a distant third on the Bulls behind Pau Gasol (22.9) and Butler (21.1). Take a look past the 16.0 PER totals of Rose, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic, and…..well, looky here. Would that be Aaron Brooks and his 15.1 PER earned in just under 20 minutes of play? Would that also mean that Brooks could well be a potential upgrade over Rose?
Brooks isn’t as flashy as Rose and at age 30, he doesn’t whet the fancy of keeper/dynasty owners. For now, let’s focus on the remainder of this season, since it appears likely Brooks will become the starter. Neither is setting the world on fire when you look at their VORP, as both Brooks and Rose share a barely above average 0.2 mark, which lies almost perfectly with their respective PERs that also are a clip above league average.
Brooks is clearly more efficient when it comes to win shares, as his 2.2 WS is nearly a point better than Rose’s 1.4. Offensively, Brooks has a decisive 1.0-0.4 edge over Rose, while the defensive advantage has Rose just a hair ahead (1.0 to 0.9). Translation: Brooks may actually provide a more consistent spark offensively and will not hurt the Bulls on the defensive end as much as expected.
Chicago is ninth in offensive rating with a mark of 108.1, a number that could actually improve if Mirotic shakes out of a slump that has seen him shoot just over 33 percent from the field since the start of the calendar year. Fellow rookie Doug McDurmott is buried so deep on the bench that he has taken just six shots since November. With the loss of Rose, a chance may open for Dougie McBuckets, yet there’s no reason to make a sprint on him for your Fantasy team.
Currently owned in 13 percent of polled leagues, Brooks is a very good grab, as he will help you in three-pointers and assists while also adding about 9-12 points per game. The value of both Butler and Gasol will climb up, while deeper Fantasy leagues could also benefit from the return of veteran sniper Mike Dunleavy, who will grab a share of Rose’s lost attempts along with his three-point accuracy.
The NBA and its fans are denied the process of watching the beauty of Rose’s ability to create sheer genius on the court. Yet at the same time, Rose’s Fantasy owners may not miss a beat if they simple grab the next man up in Chicago’s backcourt.