Are Derrick Rose’s 3-point shooting woes a matter of location?


Derrick Rose is struggling from the 3-point line because of his shot selection.

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has struggled finding his 3-point shooting stroke this season. According to basketball reference statistics, Rose has made 11 of 50 3-point attempts which comes out to a career low percentage of 22 percent.

Why is Rose shooting such a low percentage this season? The location of the majority of his shots could be the answer to this question.

Derrick Rose dwells among the worst 3-point shooters in the entire league. According to, he ranks 293rd in 3-point field goal percentage among NBA players this season. It isn’t practical for him to completely remove this element from his game because it would make him a more one-dimensional player that is easier for opponents to defend. He needs to improve his 3-point shot selection; particularly the location of his shots.

For reference, this chart above shows the outline of a typical NBA court. I will now define the different types of 3-point shot locations as I will refer to them frequently throughout the rest of this article.

The 3-point territory running from the baseline up until the beginning of where the 3-point line begins to arc constitutes a corner 3-point attempt. Any shot that comes behind where the arc occurs is a wing 3-point attempt, and the point at the top of the key behind the 3-point line is known as a straight-on 3-point attempt.

According to’s player tracking data, only 14 percent of Derrick Rose’s 3-point shot attempts have come from the corners. In contrast, 43 of his 50 3-point attempts (86 percent) have come from elsewhere on the floor. Although it is an incredibly small sample size, Rose is shooting 28 percent on corner threes. Not great by any means, but better than his overall season average of 22 percent.

The problem with his 3-point shooting distribution is that he has opted for very inefficient 3-point shots in terms of projected points per attempt.

The chart shows that corner threes are more efficient than wing and straight-on threes. Additionally, according to basketball reference, during the 2015-2016 season the league average 3-point shooting percentage on corner threes was 37.2 percent which is significantly higher than the league-wide shooting percentage on all 3-pointers which was 35.1 percent.

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Why is there such a difference here? It comes down to distance. Corner threes are actually shorter than other 3-point attempts because of the arc of the 3-point line.

As you can see from the chart above, the NBA 3-point-line runs in a straight line from the baseline, equidistant from the basket until a break line where it begins to arc. Corner 3-point shots, defined as shots in locations where the 3-point line hasn’t begun to arc, are all 22 feet from the basket. As the 3-point line begins to arc, the distance becomes further, up to a maximum distance of 23 feet and 9 inches.

Nov 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) shoots the ball against San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) during the second half at the United Center. The Bulls defeat the Spurs 92-89. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, Derrick Rose’s continued struggles with double vision hasn’t helped his cause in terms of 3-point shooting percentage. Also, he simply isn’t a good 3-point shooter with his season high percentage topping out at 33 percent in 2010-2011 ( This excludes the 2013-2014 season where he played ten games and shot 34 percent from 3-point range). However, it is undeniable that Derrick Rose is taking a lot of inefficient 3-point shots. His 3-point field goal percentage will rise if he simply stops taking the wing and straight-on threes so often.

Part of the reason for his 3-point shot selection is his position. As a point guard, he spends a lot of time at the top of the key and can’t just camp out in the corner and wait for a pass usually. However, under Hoiberg’s new offensive system which de-emphasizes the role of the point guard in terms of commanding the offense, Rose should have more opportunities to diversify his 3-point shot selection because he is playing off the ball more frequently.

Next: Will Chicago Bulls Big Man Bobby Portis Get Significant Playing Time?

Derrick Rose can’t eliminate the 3-point shot from his game because he would become too one-dimensional. The 3-point shot is a necessary evil for Rose; he might as well give himself the best opportunity to succeed with this type of shot by shooting it more efficiently.