2.11.2011

Charley Rosen: Has Derrick Rose Passed Deron Williams?


This was only one game out of 82, but during Chicago's 91-86 win in Utah, Derrick Rose demonstrated in convincing fashion that he's a much better player than Deron Williams.

Rose had 29 points (25 in direct confrontations with Williams) on 11 of 26 shooting, while also registering seven assists and only a single turnover. Rose's combination of speed and strength, coupled with his extraordinary athleticism, was astounding. When Williams tried to take Rose into the pivot, the latter easily scooted around the former's seal and poked the entry pass away. Then on a 2-on-1 fast break, Rose's quickness afoot drew a charge on the surprised Williams.

Despite his domination of his opposite number, however, Rose's game is far from being flawless. He converted only two of his eight jumpers (enabling Williams to go under most of the high screens offered for Rose's use), and except for one high-flying put-back and one floater, all of Rose's buckets were successful layups -- indicating that his springer still needs some work.

Of Rose's seven assists, six resulted from drive-and-kicks that generated open jumpers for his teammates. Rose was fortunate that he was only charged with a single turnover.

As for Williams, he managed to blow past Rose on four occasions and wound up with a like number of layups. Early in the contest Williams concentrated on facilitating Utah's offense and really didn't look to score. (Twelve of his passes opened uncontested shots that his teammates botched.) That's why Williams failed to notch his initial basket until 21 minutes had elapsed. But, in the second half, when he tried to score, Williams simply couldn't escape from Rose's super-charged defense.

Three crucial plays in the waning moments of the game illustrated Rose's superiority:

• Williams was riding the crest of a 3-on-1 fast break and a score seemed inevitable. But Rose didn't give up on the play, running Williams down from behind and making a critical steal.

• With the game still up for grabs in the last minute, Williams went after Rose in an isolation situation. • At the other end, Rose took on Williams one-on-one seeking to clinch the victory. A mercurial left-to-right crossover forced Williams to foul him, whereupon Rose calmly bagged the two free throws that put the game out of reach.

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