Rose couldn’t turn his governor back on

There’s a great post on Derrick Rose’s absurd 28-points-using-33 possessions opening night performance on the WoW Journal.  I want to use a paragraph to approach from a different angle.

For two days I was asking myself, “How can one guy have the balls to hoist 31 shots when he’s missed so many?”  I mean, think about it.  That’s almost pornographic.  Rose missed more than one and a half shots for every one he made.   How does that happen?

Consulting the INVALUABLE site popcornmachine.net, the answer is crystal clear, and almost understandable, and it plays in to my idea that what analysts refer to as “usage” is really nothing more than “license”.

Here’s how it happened, and its perfectly logical from a “basketball psychology” standpoint.  Rose started out the game 5-for-7.  If you’ve ever done that in a game, a certain feeling comes over you and your teammates.  You feel you cannot miss, and they look to you to keep taking.  When you start a game that hot, your perception of what is and what is not a good shot becomes skewed.  Now watch what happens.

In the second quarter, Rose scores another 10, but this time he needs to use 10 possessions to do it, not 7.  But I’m sure he’s not taking such an “abicus” approach.  To him, at halftime, he’s halfway to 40 points.  In Basketball Psychology, his shot governor and the moral suasion that teammates might impose on someone who takes an absurd number of shots (“Dude, come on, let’s get a good shot”) is gone for good.  The basketball player now has what I call “unlimited license to shoot”.  That’s rarely a good thing.

Now, once the fourth quarter rolls around and its a close game, everyone, including Rose, is looking for him to rekindle the magic.  He feels a sense of responsibility to try to score.  Why not?  He proved he could score at will on the Thunder just an hour or so before.  But I’ll bet you dollars to donuts he was taking much better opportunities an hour before, and I’ll bet you he was just completely forcing the action in the fourth quarter.  And thus the misses mounted, but no one stopped Rose from shooting because, hey, was having a big “volume” scoring night.

In fact, Rose probably cost the Bulls the game.  He used way too many possessions recklessly.  But, within the confines of basketball etiquette, his 12 make, 19 miss performance on Wednesday now makes a bit more sense.  But that doesn’t excuse it if you are a Bulls fan.  The point guard needs to be more mature than that.

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6 Responses to “Rose couldn’t turn his governor back on”

  1. Evanz Says:

    You’ve given me a great idea for a post! Thanks, in advance.

  2. Gabe Says:

    Excellent post.

  3. dberri Says:

    Am I allowed to re-post two items from one Wages of Win Network blog in a single day? Seriously… this was the usage argument I sent to Arturo and Andres just a few days ago. Players who shoot badly have an incentive to take more and more shots because they are trying to maximize scoring. So the causality may not be… more shots lead to lower shooting efficiency. It may be… lower shooting efficiency leads to more shots.

    BTW… in the aggregate, there is very little systematic evidence for the usage story (regardless of how you think the causality runs).

  4. badgerbucco Says:

    So, there are no diminishing returns for higher usage? If there were no downside to one player taking more possessions, wouldn’t optimal strategy be to have the highest efficiency player use every possession in a game?

  5. Around the WOW week 2 (Old Testament Style) « Arturo's Silly Little Stats Says:

    […] Rose couldn’t turn his governor back on […]

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