With the signing of three former members of the Utah Jazz, the Chicago Bulls earned the nickname “Utah Midwest” this summer. Bulls fans hope they don’t become “Utah Jazz East,” as in the Jazz of the Eastern Conference postseason because Utah’s recent playoff experience is not worth emulating.
You’ve heard the expression “NBA Hell?” Well, that’s exactly where Utah is- a place where the ceiling has been reached and every May just repeats itself like the movie “Groundhog Day.”
One aspect of the Jazz certainly worth emulating is the play of their point guard. In recent years, we’ve seen University of Illinois product Deron Williams evolve into the greatest ex-Illini in the professional ranks, and later the greatest overall point guard.
Can Derrick Rose make a similar leap? A couple of Williams’ former teammates believe so.
By Paul M. Banks
“I see Derrick as a young Deron,” newly acquired Bulls wing Kyle Korver said.
“There’s a lot of similarities in body type and being able to get to the basket, the kind of person they are. Deron is very very complete in his game, he doesn’t have that one weakness that a lot of point guards have. He can shoot, he can defend, he’s pass first, he’s got a big body. And I think Derrick is right on his way to doing the same exact thing,” he continued.
If you go here, you can view Williams’ career statistics. Take a close look at his numbers for ’05-’06 and ’06’-07 then notice the considerable jump in the third season.
Now look at Derrick Rose’s stats for his first two years in the league. Can he make a Deron like jump in this his third season?
At Bulls Media Day I asked Carlos Boozer about the comparing of his old point guard to his new one.
“They’re both great. They have some similarities and they do have some differences. I think Derrick he may be the most athletic point guard I’ve seen maybe ever. I’ve seen some highlights of him that made me think ‘did he really just do that?’ I saw some incredible things playing alongside Deron for five years in Utah. They’re both great passers, great vision, scoring ability,” Booze said.
A great deal of whether or not Rose develops in a Williams like fashion hinges on the Bulls’ ability to properly utilize the new pieces Chicago has acquired, and these new scoring options allow Rose to act as more of a distributor.
“I haven’t gotten to play with Derrick a whole let yet, but everyone thinks of him as a scorer, but he wants to pass the basketball and I think the makeup of the team the last couple years it was just him driving to the basket, and this year with all the pieces they brought in, he’s going to be able to play a lot more point guard if that makes sense,” Korver stated.
Who knows, maybe the next time Williams and Rose square off, and something like this happens, the roles will be reversed?
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He is also a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank