By the numbers: The impact of losing Derrick Rose

Replacing Derrick Rose with CJ Watson and John Lucas is unfair to both the fans and the team.

Pretty much anyone in the world can say that the Bulls are nowhere as good a team without Derrick Rose. That’s clear. But it got me thinking – exactly how much worse is this team without Rose? I checked out to figure it out.

Let us first take a look at some advanced statistics and focus on the four offensive factors of basketball per 48 minutes of basketball: effective field goal %, turnovers committed per possession, offensive rebounding % and free throw rate. Considering the fact that the Bulls aren’t any worse defensively without Rose (thanks to Thibs), I’m choosing to ignore defense completely to zero in on our depleted offense. Here’s the catch, though: I am only looking at the four playoff games against the 76ers. Forget the regular season. There were too many meaningless games played during this season jam-packed with back-to-backs, back-to-back-to-backs, 4 games in 5 nights, etc. I know there’s only 37 minutes worth of data for Rose in this case, but it can still give us a good sense as to how the Bulls would have fared against Philly had Rose stayed healthy.

  • Effective Field Goal %: 53.2% when in, 44.8% when out
  • Turnovers Committed per Possession: 0.155 when in, 0.133 when out
  • Offensive Rebounding %: 32.3% when in, 26.6% when out
  • Free Throw Rate: 0.222 when in, 0.147 when out

Now, let us compare these numbers to those of CJ Watson and John Lucas.

  • Effective Field Goal %: 48% when in, 45% when out
  • Turnovers Committed per Possession: 0.127 when in, 0.147 when out
  • Offensive Rebounding %: 18.1% when in, 34.4% when out
  • Free Throw Rate: 0.152 when in, 0.169 when out
  • Effective Field Goal %: 44.4% when in, 47.6% when out
  • Turnovers Committed per Possession: 0.139 when in, 0.136 when out
  • Offensive Rebounding %: 34.3% when in, 22.8% when out
  • Free Throw Rate: 0.138 when in, 0.174 when out
Other notable statistics:
  • The Bulls are +7.8 in the series with Rose on the court and -7.1 with him off; -5.6 with Watson on and -2.9 while off; -6.4 with Lucas on and -3.1 while off
  • The Bulls have an offense rating of 109.6 with Rose on the court and 91.9 with him off

Based solely on statistics, the Bulls have been significantly worse offensively without Rose against the 76ers. The turnover rate is actually higher with Rose in, but that’s probably because Rose led the team with 5 turnovers in game 1 due to the double teams he was drawing from the lengthy Philly defenders.

It is also interesting to point out that the Bulls have been infinitely better on the offensive glass with Lucas on the court than Watson. I honestly have no idea why this may be, but everyone can agree that Rose’s effect on our offensive rebounding obviously has to do with the fact that he draws extra defenders away from the basket, ultimately leaving an extra player down low to give us second and third chance points.

Lastly, the difference in free throw rates between these three point guards is an absolute joke. It goes without saying that neither Watson nor Lucas have the quickness and first step that Derrick has, and it’s clear that both players essentially have an incredible amount of trouble drawing fouls and creating open looks for everyone else.

With all that being said, it’s very safe to assume that, with a healthy Derrick Rose, the Bulls would have either swept Philadelphia or won it in 5. What a depressing way to go out. I won’t get over this for a looong time.


About Adam Levy

Adam Levy is a diehard sports fan and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. After graduating with a Master's Degree from Indiana University, he began working at a consulting firm in the loop. In his spare time, he watches sports, re-watches Seinfeld episodes for the 23rd time, plays pickup basketball, competes in sports leagues during the summer, and overvalues all of the players on his fantasy teams. He is extremely passionate about his teams and will likely be found curled up in the fetal position on his bed, crying and cursing after significant losses. If you like his insight, feel free to comment, follow him on Twitter @ChiCityBS, or email him at

Posted on May 8, 2012, in Bulls, Statistical Analysis and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: