With Derrick Rose returning from a torn left ACL at long last, does he become the first point guard off the board in fantasy drafts; or does Chris Paul hold onto his throne? Fantasy Sports Locker Room writers Peter Houston and Esten McLaren debate: Rose versus Paul.
The front of my mind (and logic) tells me no – things that border on humanly impossible don’t happen very often. In order for Derrick Rose to be a more valuable fantasy pick than Chris Paul, he would have to do just that – border on the humanly impossible.
First, let’s look at their career numbers:
18.6 PPG, .473 FG%, .858 FT%, 1.0 3PTM, 4.4 REB, 9.8 AST, 0.1 BLK, 2.4 STL, 2.4 TO
21.0 PPG, .464 FG%, .815FT%, 0.8 3PTM, 3.8 REB, 6.8 AST, 0.4 BLK, 0.9 STL, 2.9 TO
Paul is better in every category except for PPG and BLK (not that your PG’s blocks are going to make a difference anyway). Paul dominates in the important PG categories of assists and steals.
Not only that, but you can expect a boost in Paul’s assists this year with the addition of sharpshooters J.J. Redick (career .390 3PT%) and Jared Dudley (.405 3PT%) to a lineup that already has Jamal Crawford. Not only is he going to be tossing lobs to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but he also has a couple spot up shooters to dish to when he draws double teams off the dribble.
Having Doc Rivers at the helm is also going to make a huge difference. Vinny Del Negro “only” played Paul 33.4 minutes a night, which was the lowest of his career. Rivers has already said he’s not going to be limiting Paul’s minutes this year. Keep in mind Rivers is a former point guard who oversaw the development of Rajon Rondo. The guy knows how to get the most out of his pass first point guards to run the offense.
Paul was the number three ranked fantasy player last year and the top ranked player the year before that. To think that he’s anything less than a top four pick, let alone not the best point guard, is absurd.
Esten for Derrick Rose:
Sure, it’s unfair to expect an Adrian Peterson-esque return from Derrick Rose, but I would also be surprised by anything less. In 2010-11 Rose enjoyed the best year of his career, en route to being named the most valuable player in the NBA. He did regress a bit the following season before tearing his ACL, but after a year of rehabilitation Rose is more than ready to go.
To me the biggest thing for Rose is that not only is he (reportedly) better than ever, but so are the Chicago Bulls. During that MVP campaign in 2010-11, Carlos Boozer played only 59 games, the fewest in his tenure with the Bulls and Joakim Noah started and played in just 48 games. Luol Deng and Taj Gibson are the only other two members of that 2010-11 team still with the club.
Deng has essentially maintained a status quo since that time, and Taj Gibson has seen a point per 36 minute improvement. Also, the Bulls have added players like Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Nazr Mohammed and Kirk Hinrich. While Paul can make easy lob passes to Jordan and Griffin, Rose has teammates who can score from all over the floor.
With that said, Paul has the better team. Which for fantasy implications, gives Rose a major advantage. He is the number one option in the Bulls offense, which means he will score plenty of points, while also drawing the majority of defensive attention, opening up scoring lanes for his teammates.
And we still haven’t touched on the reported “five inch improvement” to Rose’s vertical. He already has a three inch height advantage on Paul, the advantage point guards provide in blocks and rebounds is not huge, but can absolutely be the difference in a lot of matchups. Defensive specialists can be had in the latter rounds to makeup for Rose’s deficiencies, scorers to account for Paul’s, are harder to come by.
Rose’s overall greater role in the Bulls’ offense compared to Paul’s in the Clippers’ makes Derrick Rose the clear choice as the number one point guard off of the draft board. Combined with his reported physical prowess, the choice is obvious.