Chicago Bulls analysis: Advanced stats show Rose hasn’t been meaningfully involved in offense this season


Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose will have a tough time reclaiming his position as the face of the Chicago Bulls franchise under new head coach Fred Hoiberg. Advanced statistics indicate that his involvement in the Chicago Bulls offense has waned considerably this season. The days where Rose was the focal point of the offense are long gone.

According to basketball reference advanced statistics, Rose’s usage rate is 25.2 percent this season. This is his lowest rate since his rookie season and the first time since 2009-2010 that this number has been below 30 percent.

Usage percentage is “an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor.” The kicker here is that the stat isn’t all-inclusive. Statisticians only record usage percentage if a particular play ends in a field goal attempt, free throw attempt or turnover. Most importantly, it doesn’t take into account assists or potential assists (passes that resulted in a missed shot, or free throw attempt) which are two other outcomes of an offensive possession.

Nov 9, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) brings the ball up court against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Bulls won 111-88. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

To address this limitation, nylon calculus developed a statistic called true usage percentage.

"By comparing shots, assist chances and turnovers with total possessions played, we can look at a player’s “True Usage.” This number represents a player’s total offensive involvement. Unlike traditional usage, which would theoretically sum to 100%8, there is no set total, though of course at least 100% of possessions are going to be accounted for in this way. But, to my thinking, it’s more intuitive that in many possessions, multiple players are credited with involvement — as the plays above show, those baskets arose from the contributions of multiple players, without all of which, the basket doesn’t happen. Additionally, it better reflects how an NBA offense really works. Even though point guards often don’t carry the biggest load in terms of shooting the basketball, the point guard (or other wing “taking on primary ball-handling responsibility”) has a large overall role to play in the creation of shots."

In simpler terms, nylon calculus defines true usage percentage as the “percentage of possessions in which the player is “involved” in the offense either by shooting (including drawing a shooting foul), potentially assisting (including FT assists, but not “hockey assists”) or turning the ball over.”

According to nylon calculus, Rose’s true usage percentage this season has been 40.2 percent; down significantly from the 2014-2015 season when his true usage percentage was 46.1 percent. While his turnover usage percentage and playmaking usage percentage (assists and potential assists) have stayed virtually constant between the two seasons, his scoring usage ((shots + turnovers) / possessions)) has fallen from 26.5 percent in 2014-2015 to just 21.8 percent this season.

Interestingly enough, according to, Derrick Rose averaged 77.4 touches per game during the 2014-2015 season and has averaged 77.8 touches per game this season. True usage percentage measures meaningful offensive involvement. The fact that Rose’s touches per game statistic remains the same while his usage and true usage percentages have dipped suggests that he hasn’t been meaningfully involved in the offense (recorded a shot attempt, assist, potential assist or turnover) as frequently as in past seasons.

Nov 5, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) celebrates with forward

Taj Gibson

(22) during the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the United Center. The Bulls won 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

So what happened? Why hasn’t Derrick Rose been a focal point of the offense this season? Given Hoiberg’s offensive system, Rose’s declining usage and true usage percentages shouldn’t come as a surprise to Bulls fans. At Iowa State, Hoiberg limited his point guards’ usages as well.

"It’s with Rose that I see the most adjustments coming. Iowa State has had the nation’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio for consecutive years – point guard Monte Morris. While Morris is a terrific player, this can be deceiving. For a point guard, Morris has a low usage rate (16.9 percent) due to Hoiberg’s point forward schemes. I would anticipate a Bulls team with the ball in the hands of Rose less. I think less reliance on Rose, given his injury history, isn’t a bad thing. I also think a creative coach like Hoiberg, given a player with Rose’s ability, would figure out a way to tweak the offense. But the idea of fewer turnovers after that debacle of a Milwaukee series sure sounds nice! —Information courtesy of Basketball Breakdown writer Randy Sherman"

Under Hoiberg, this may just become the reality. As long as he remains the coach, the offense will not center around Rose like it had in previous seasons. Based on the way that Rose has been playing this season, that may not be a bad thing.