Derrick Rose, Kyle Korver, and the Cleveland Cavaliers Bench

The Cleveland Cavaliers bench has swung games this season. After multiple years of watching the team fall apart, this year's second unit has been relatively effective, but what's really going on with these guys?

The first 15 games of the Cavaliers' season have been strange. There have been injuries, juggled starting lineups, no-shows from guys who are supposed to be studs, dominant performances from backups, horrifying losses, impressive wins, and LeBron James highlights. It's hard to tell what's going on and what is an actual problem vs. what is a symptom of "can it please be April, now?" syndrome.

The biggest story has been the addition of guys like Dwyane Wade, Jeff Green, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, and Isaiah Thomas, but without Thomas, those other four have taken the spotlight. Crowder has struggled. A lot. He's going to be a topic for another day. The other three are effectively bench players. Rose is the starting point guard when he's healthy (lol at Derrick Rose ever being healthy), but he was signed as a backup and frankly, he plays like a backup. Let's dig in a little to Derrick Rose.

The Cavs are better with Rose out

Derrick Rose is, by most accounts, a point guard. Point guards (Wikipedia entry for Point Guard) are primarily used to distribute the basketball and get their teammates involved. They are also supposed to protect the ball. In today's NBA, they are often required to have strong shooting ability.

That's three strikes for Derrick Rose. 

Among the 80 guards in the NBA who have played more than 25 minutes in a game this season, Derrick Rose has the sixth lowest assists-per-game rate. He is averaging 1.7 assists per game or 2.3 per 36 minutes of play. Here is an incomplete list of guys who are averaging more assists per 36 minutes than the guy the Cavaliers prefer to start at point guard over the next two months:

  • Andre Drummond
  • Boban Marjanovic
  • Pascal Siakam
  • Robin Lopez
  • Jusuf Nurkic
  • Joe Johnson
  • Dion Waiters

There are dozens more, but that's a decent sampling, I'd say. However, I mentioned three categories above, and the other two are turnovers and shooting. Rose hasn't been as prolific with his turnovers as a lot of other guys, but he does have more turnovers than assists so far this season. He has 19 turnovers in 188 minutes (a not-nightmarish rate for a point guard, but not a good one) to go against 12 (twelve!) assists. Here's one of those turnovers.