Originally written on The I in Team  |  Last updated 11/17/14

So I was cruising around the Internet and I stumbled upon this column by Marc Spears. The main point in the column is basically Kendrick Perkins defending Russell Westbrook, specifically against the barbs that he isn’t a true point guard. This quote caught my eye:

“The thing that bothers me … is Derrick Rose is not a true point guard, he is a scoring point guard, but nobody gets on Derrick Rose like they get on Russ.”

Full disclosure, I’m obviously a huge DRose fan being a Bulls fan and all, but I’m also a huge Westbrook fan as I was at UCLA while he was playing for the Bruins (ah, the good ol’ days of competent UCLA basketball).

I can appreciate Perkins wanting to back his teammate up. That’s something I would want to do if I saw one of my guys getting bothered by the constant analysis provided by the media, but his comments on Rose bothered. There’s two elements to it that got to me. First, he’s weirdly dissing Rose by calling him a scoring point guard, as though the ability to score from the PG position is something bad. It’s a weird juxtaposition. The second thing that annoys me is that Perkins is missing the point entirely.

Yes, Derrick scores a lot. He was the MVP due to this as well as the fact that he racked up a number of assists while also leading the Bulls to the best record without the help of another superstar. There’s no reason to give him flack for this. People would, however, question Rose if he was jacking up contested jump shots when he has one of the top 5 players in the league as a teammate. That is the reason why people get down on Russell so often. He’s not a good shooter, yet he goes through stretches where he gets tunnel vision with the hoop and will force up shots if he can’t make his way closer to the hoop.

Let’s just look at some career numbers:

Russell

FG%: .425
3P%: .271
eFG%: .437
TOV%: 16.1
USG%: 28.1

Derrick

FG%: .468
3P%: .308
eFG%: .488
TOV%: 13.0
USG%: 27.4

So a quick primer on these stats. FG% and 3 point % are obvious. eFG is effective field goal percentage; this is a stat simply adjusts for the fact that 3 pointers are worth more points (3, if you’re slow) than 2 pointers (2, if you’re really slow). TOV% is turnover percentage which is an estimate of the number of turnovers a player makes over the course of 100 plays. USG% estimates the percentage of plays a player uses up on the floor. Basically, it takes assists + shots + non-And 1 FT trips + turnovers as a percentage of plays.

Looking at those numbers, Russell, unfortunately, looks pretty bad. His field goal percentage is subpar and his 3pt shooting is abysmal. Rose’s shooting is decent, not great, and his overall 3pt numbers are less than you would want, especially for someone who shoots 3′s so often. When you convert that into eFG, Russell really starts to look like a chucker. This is born out even more so when you look at TOV% and USG%. Once again, Russell Westbrook is on the same team as Kevin freaking Durant and he averages more turnovers and uses up more possessions than Derrick Rose. Something is wrong with that picture, and that something is why people get on Russell’s case. So Perkins, I can appreciate that you’re looking out for your teammate, but there’s no reason to drag Derrick Rose’s name through the mud, especially when you’re not even addressing the correct issue.

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