Chicago Bulls

Who Was the Better 3rd Year Point Guard: Derrick Rose or Chris Paul?

Chris Paul Derrick Rose ComparisonWith apologies to James Brown, the NBA is a big man’s world. But it wouldn’t be nothing without a solid point guard. To that end, the 2011 NBA playoffs have showcased two of the league’s best floor leaders – Chicago’s Derrick Rose and New Orleans’ Chris Paul.

The pair have dazzled fans and opponents in their respective first round series. Rose is considered the presumptive winner of the MVP award and having just finished his third season in the league, sits atop the point guard pile in many people’s minds. However, the third time was also the charm for Paul – and his third campaign may have been just a bit more charming.

Player Year Age G GS MP FGA FG% 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Derrick Rose 2010-11 22 81 81 37.4 19.7 0.445 0.332 5.9 6.9 0.858 1 3.1 4.1 7.7 1 0.6 3.4 1.7 25
Chris Paul 2007-08 22 80 80 37.6 16.1 0.488 0.369 4.2 4.9 0.851 0.8 3.2 4 11.6 2.7 0.1 2.5 2.3 21.1

Put these two seasons side-by-side and it’s hard to go wrong with either player. In fact, both teams’ records from those respective seasons pay tribute to that. The Hornets won the Southwest division and finished just a game behind the Lakers for the best record in the Western Conference in ’07-08. The Bulls did them one better this season, winning 62 games to grab the NBA’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Paul’s ’07-08 season was good enough to finish second in the MVP voting, behind Kobe Bryant’s amazing 28.3 ppg/6.3 rpg/5.4 apg season. It seems likely that Rose will do Paul one better there by winning the league’s most prestigious individual honor. Paul’s overall ability, however, gives him an advantage in a comparative game of one-on-one when you break down the frequency of different stats from each player’s third season in the league,

Minutes 20-29 30-39 40+

Derrick Rose 6 59 16    
Chris Paul 5 53 21    
           
Points 0-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49
Derrick Rose 1 18 39 21 2
Chris Paul 5 33 30 9 3
           
Rebounds 0-4 5-9 10-14

Derrick Rose 52 25 4    
Chris Paul 53 26 1    
           
Assists 0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20+
Derrick Rose 13 47 20 1  
Chris Paul 3 18 40 17 2
           
Steals 0 1-2 3-4 5+
Derrick Rose 32 41 6 2  
Chris Paul 0 43 27 10  
           
Blocks 0 1-2 3-4    
Derrick Rose 46 30 5    
Chris Paul 76 4 0    

Rose had better numbers in points, rebounds and blocks and there’s little doubt that Rose is the more dynamic scorer. Paul was much more efficent however, shooting 4 percentage point higher while average 1 less TO per game. Rose’s advantage in blocked shots and rebounds can be attributed in part to being three inches taller with a greater wingspan. Even still, Paul’s rebounding numbers were comparable to Rose’s totals and scoring-wise he was nearly as consistent.

Yet minutes, assists and steals don’t see height. Paul outdistanced Rose in those categories by a solid margin – especially when it came to thefts. Paul had at least one steal in every game during the 2007-08 season and led the NBA that year in both assists and steals. For Rose to have 32 games without a steal with head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defense-heavy style  is an eyebrow raiser. Even more so when you consider another Thibodeau protegé, Rajon Rondo, had only eight games without a steal last season playing in the same defensive system.

Then there’s the issue of supporting cast. Simply put, Rose has better wingmen. In the starting lineups, New Orleans’ quartet of Tyson Chandler, David West, Peja Stojakovic and Morris Peterson isn’t awful. But more head coaches would probably prefer to roll the dice with Keith Bogans, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. That disparity gets bigger when you dip into the benches. If I offered you a Ronnie Brewer-Kyle Korver-Taj Gibson sampler platter, would you pass it up for a Jannero Pargo-Bobby Jackson-Rasual Butler trio?

As much as Derrick Rose did for the Bulls this past season, Chris Paul had to do that and a little bit more. That he didn’t win a Most Valuable Player award had as much to do with circumstance and timing as anything. In fact, you could argue that LeBron fatigue is the biggest reason that Rose’s MVP in 2011 looks to be a fait accompli. Not to suggest that Rose’s numbers aren’t worthy of a look, but if LeBron hadn’t made himself the league’s biggest villain, he’d likely be in line for his third straight MVP award.

All of that aside, Rose deservedly is the point guard flavor of the month, but as Paul is reminding us all during New Orleans’ first round series against the Lakers, he is not to be overlooked.

Related posts:

  1. Should Derrick Rose Be MVP?
  2. Sam Smith: Rose’s Historic Season Means No True MVP Competition (4/11/11)
  3. The Forgotten King: 6 Reasons Why Lebron is the 2011 NBA MVP
  4. 2011 NBA Most Improved Player Of The Year: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks

Discussion

15 Responses to “Who Was the Better 3rd Year Point Guard: Derrick Rose or Chris Paul?”

  1. It’s not even a debate. Chris Paul is the better PG – anyone watching the playoffs can seet that. Rose is getting props this year because there aren’t really any others contending.

    Posted by paulieshore | April 26, 2011, 10:31 am
  2. “Rose’s advantage in blocked shots and rebounds can be attributed in part to being three inches taller with a greater wingspan.”

    So I guess the post is really saying that Paul would be as good if Rose were 3″ shorter?

    Posted by Biff | April 26, 2011, 12:01 pm
  3. Things brings up a great conversation about what I believe is the deepest position in the NBA. How many centers who play right now are true centers to be compared with Shaq, Hakeem or people of that variety, Dwight, Bynum(assuming he stays healthy for 82 games)? What about SG, other than Kobe or D-Wade, who takes over on a consistent basis?
    The 3/4 position is deep, but its also filled with a lot of one-sided players, Durant is a sub-par defender, Pau cant rebound as one would expect, KG isnt 2004 KG. Lebron is cleary the head of this class but there isnt much behind him other that Pierce. Carmelo hasn’t yet realized that to be a great player you need to at least pretend like you play defense.
    The PG position is stacked with scorers, facilitators and game changers. From Rondo, Westbrook, Rose, Paul, D. Williams, Curry, Parker, Felton, Nash, Wall and Kidd. Thats just the list of consistently good PG’s, the next group of Conley, Lawson, Holiday, Evans and Jennings are up and comers…
    Point being, the PG position is crazy deep with quality and any given night I think we can expect one of the 16 above to do something spectacular. No way you can say that about any other position.

    Posted by Anti Bill Simmons | April 26, 2011, 12:18 pm
  4. This is nonsense. Chris Paul would never be able to lead the Bulls to 62 games or take over games in the 4th quarter like Rose can.

    Posted by Chrisophersen | April 26, 2011, 12:27 pm
    • Are you joking? Chris Paul led them to 56 games which is not far behind, and he did it with a terrible team. Hes got a better IQ and obviously you dont watch him play, because hes a terrific 4th q player. He doesnt take over by scoring but he does with his overall PG play. He single handedly made tyson chandler the center he is today, and also did the same to David West. There isn’t a conversation, Paul is a better player, period.

      Posted by Akbar | July 14, 2011, 4:59 am
  5. For the love of FSM don’t write articles comparing two players using nothing but basic stats. It just promotes ignorance among the common fan, and perpetuates the problem with traditional print journalism. You’re online! You’re supposed to be more aware of the plethora of excellent statistics available.

    Pauls PER that year- 28.39
    Rose’s this year- 23.62

    I’m not saying PER is the end all stat, so go look at some more for yourself. There are dozens of advanced stats (what coaches and scouts use when analyzing players) that all say the same thing.

    Check out hoopdata.com, 82games.com, basketball reference, etc)

    What they say is that Paul’s season was one of the best ever historically, whereas Rose’s is merely good. No getting around that.

    Posted by joe | April 26, 2011, 3:28 pm
  6. I think people should really consider not calling Derrick Rose a point guard and just label him as a guard. Chris Paul is a legitimate pass first point guard. Rose shoots more than 20 plus shots most games, I don’t know many point guard who do that. When he starts averaging more than 7 assist per game I will consider him an elite PG, until then he’s an elite guard in my opinion. Chris Paul is definitely a way better point guard than Rose is, at the same time Rose is a better guard that Chris Paul is.

    Posted by Bob | April 27, 2011, 2:10 am
  7. Chris Paul wins this, and I’ll venture to say it’s not that close. Just looking at the stats alone, CP3′s play gave his team more points (points + assists), and 3 extra possessions (steals + turnovers).

    I like Rose as a player and if I have to compare him to a player it would be Isiah Thomas (http://goo.gl/mhro9). Rose has an advantage on every point guard in his combination of speed, strength, and athleticism, but CP3 was in the 3rd season and still is a better point.

    Posted by J.T. | April 27, 2011, 10:48 am
  8. There is no comparison to begin with, DRose isn’t really a Point Guard per say. He’s just like Allen Iverson, scoring guard. No disrespect to DRose, but AI was way better during his prime. Anyway, CP3 is by far the best true PG.

    Posted by fullbleed | April 28, 2011, 1:01 am
  9. CP3 is definitely the best true ‘point guard’ in the league right now. He controls the tempo of almost every game and that alone defines his greatness. Rose is still a ‘shooting-point guard’ and their heavy reliance on him scoring is what cost them in the playoffs. CP3′s roster was infinitely worse than Rose and he still got 2 games from the Lakers vs Rose BARELY winning against Atlanta and Pacers.

    Posted by Eric | May 29, 2011, 7:45 pm
  10. Are you joking? Chris Paul led them to 56 games which is not far behind, and he did it with a terrible team. Hes got a better IQ and obviously you dont watch him play, because hes a terrific 4th q player. He doesnt take over by scoring but he does with his overall PG play. He single handedly made tyson chandler the center he is today, and also did the same to David West. There isn’t a conversation, Paul is a better player, period.

    Posted by Akbar | July 14, 2011, 4:57 am
  11. You are a lebron sucker!!!!!c’mon is a rose vs paul and always you mencion the fucking lebron. In the conversation! Omg

    Posted by Real | January 12, 2012, 2:00 pm
  12. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote
    the book in it or something. I think that you
    can do with some pics to drive the message home
    a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

    Posted by Norman | October 21, 2012, 5:29 am

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