In SheridanHoops’ latest weekly installment, contributors Jeremy Bauman, Maxwell Ogden and Ben Baroff are happy to introduce the 3-Man Weave.
Once a week we’ll be bringing you three different opinions on the latest topics around the NBA.
As we approach All-Star weekend, the Pacers and Bulls are getting ready to welcome back their stars, the San Antonio Spurs are beginning their annual Rodeo Road Trip, and we’ll reveal our 1st half surprises and disappointments.
We hope you enjoy the opening edition.
First Pass: Derrick Rose and Danny Granger are both set to return to the court after the All-Star break. Which player gives their team a better chance to dethrone the Miami Heat?
Jeremy Bauman: They both will give their teams a tremendous boost.
That being said, there isn’t a question in my mind that Derrick Rose is more vital to the Bulls’ chances to beat the Heat than Danny Granger is to the Pacers’ odds. Indiana has already beaten Miami twice during the regular season and done so in somewhat dominant fashion, allowing just 8 fast-break points per game to a team that normally averages more than double that number. The Pacers offense has struggled at times, but it’s been just good enough to be 30-19, a half game up on Chicago at this point, and their defense has been playing very well.
The Bulls defensive unit works in such excellent cohesion and their coaching has been astounding, per usual, but Derrick Rose provides the Bulls with a ball-handling, play-making, tough-shot-making extraordinaire that any team would kill to add to it’s roster at the midseason point, recovering from a torn ACL or not. His value is immense and as the Bulls work him back into the lineup, it’ll be interesting to see if he’s added any new wrinkles to his game (hint: his floater game is going to be ludicrously on point).
I leave you with this: Through 48 games, the Bulls average 93.6 points per game, good for 25th in the league. The Oklahoma City Thunder are first at 105.9 per game.
Is Derrick Rose good enough to make up that difference on most of the nights when the Bulls struggle to score down the stretch of games?
I think so.
Maxwell Ogden: There’s no question about this one. There’s no question that the Indiana Pacers have been an abysmal offensive unit with Danny Granger out, but can we really draw this comparison? The Chicago Bulls are an equally elite defensive squad that is a clutch scorer away from sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings. Last time I checked, Derrick Rose is one of the best late-game performers in the NBA.
Thus far in 2012-13, 12 of the Bulls’ 19 losses have come by single-digits. A major reason for this is their lack of a go-to scorer during the closing minutes of a game. When Derrick Rose returns from injury, that disadvantage will be neutralized as Rose returns to his role as one of the top clutch performers.
Danny Granger will serve a similar purpose in Indiana, but we’re talking about two elite defensive teams needing an offensive boost. In other words, we are directly comparing Granger and Rose. Granger won’t improve Indiana’s non-existent ball movement and Rose will add a new dynamic to Chicago’s offense.
I take D-Rose.
Ben Baroff: You can argue this one both ways. D-Rose is clearly the superior player, but once he returns the impetus is going to be on him to carry the Bulls past Miami. Coming off a torn ACL, I’m not sure he’s going to be able to give the Bulls all they need to reach the Finals.
While Granger is clearly not the MVP caliber player that Rose is, he is a very solid complimentary player nonetheless. Watching from the sideline as Paul George blossomed into an All-Star this season should have humbled him, and make him more willing to ride in the passenger seat when he returns.
He’s another long and athletic defender to add to the Pacers top-ranked defense, and a player capable of adding some much needed spot-up shooting to the Pacers offense.
None of this is to say that Rose will not have an equally great (if not greater) effect on the Bulls upon his return, I just believe at their current state, the Pacers are more equipped to beat the Heat and will be less reliant on Granger than the Bulls will have to be on a recovering Rose.
Jeremy Bauman: Al Jefferson could make the Spurs very dangerous, quickly and Will Bynum could make the Thunder lethal.