Wisch: Is Derrick Rose The Most Athletic Point Guard Ever?

By Dave Wischnowsky–-

CHICAGO (CBS) — After a pair of shaky games to start this year’s NBA Playoffs, I’m a little bit uncertain about the Chicago Bulls right now.

But this I am not: Derrick Rose is the most athletic point guard to ever play professional basketball.

And I think whoever is No. 2 might be sucking wind just trying to keep up with Chicago’s Finest.

This past Saturday afternoon during the first quarter of Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers, Rose, the Bulls’ ever-so-precocious point, pulled off a truly ridiculous sequence of plays in an MVP-caliber season filled with them.

First, Rose recovered on a defensive lapse to swat Darren Collison’s shot off the backboard from behind. He then took the ball downcourt himself in what’s become a customary blink, pulled off a jaw-dropper of a spin move around Tyler Hansbrough in the paint and then kissed a shot off the glass for an almost impossible layup to tie the ballgame up at 15-all.

You could have called the series of plays vintage Derrick Rose if, you know, Rose had been in the league long enough to have a vintage yet.

In any case, Dan Shulman just called it incredible.

“How many point guards in the history of the NBA can have a sequence like Derrick Rose just did on both ends of the court?” the ABC play-by-play announcer asked, I’d say, quite rhetorically.

On Monday, the sports website bleacherreport.com posted a blog entry entitled, “Derrick Rose and the 25 Most Athletic Point Guards Ever.” In its intro the blog read: “One may call Rose the most athletic point guard of all time right now, even though he is only 22 years old.”

And I, for one, most certainly would.

As other candidates for the “Most Athletic” label, Bleacher Report listed (in no particular order): Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy, Calvin Murphy, Spud Webb, Muggsy Bogues, Kevin Johnson, Steve Nash, Gary Payton, Walt Frazier, Isiah Thomas, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Steve Francis, Nate Robinson, Charlie Ward, Baron Davis and Stephon Marbury.

On Saturday, ABC color commentator Jon Barry responded to Shulman’s question about what other point guards in NBA history could pull off such an athletic sequence as Rose did during Game 1 against the Pacers. Barry, search for a reasonable answer, tossed out the names of Oklahoma City’s second-year pro Russell Westbrook (very athletic) and all-time great Isiah Thomas (very quick).

However, Barry added that he didn’t know if there’s ever been another point guard with Rose’s power.

Or, I would argue, with his overall speed.

Rose is essentially a small forward – a freakishly athletic one – pinned inside a point guard’s body. His game doesn’t exist just on the court, like most lead guards, but also above the rim. And, while there have been other high-flyers to play the position – Baron Davis, Steve Francis and Westbrook to name a few – I don’t think that any of them have displayed the pure explosion and overall quickness (both offensively and defensively) as Rose has.
Now, I never saw Oscar Robertson play point guard, of course (heck, the guy retired in 1974). And, perhaps, he was in Rose’s league as an athlete – anyone who averages a triple-double for a season has to have some crazy athleticism, I don’t care what era.

But, I’m still going to guess that even “The Big O” might have dropped an “ooh” or an “ahh” when Derrick Rose flashed past him on the basketball court.

And give him a nod that the athleticism Rose brings to his position is without peer.

Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.

davewisch Wisch: Is Derrick Rose The Most Athletic Point Guard Ever?

Dave Wischnowsky

If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    his body control (in the air) is amazing

  • Jake from da burbs


    The answer is pretty much subjective to your definition of “athletic.” If you consider pure physical gifts, yes Derrick Rose is probably one of the best along with probably Russell Westbrok, who would be of the same athletic ilk. The difference being Rose is more skilled, having more intangibles and a better overall game.

    The guy to watch out for is John Wall. He’s faster, taller, longer and just as physically gifted. He may not be as powerful as Rose but his speed is blinding. I dont think he’ll be the kind of PG Rose is but he will be quite special if he can stay healthy. .

    As you and Larry pointed out, what sets Rose apart athletically is his combination of power & speed, along with body control and sheer creativity. I’ve never seen someone be able to lay in the basketball in so many different varieties of ways and he has made the simple layup an art form. Its quite scintilating.

  • Dave Wischnowsky

    Jordan definitely had a unique repertoire of layups in his bag of tricks, too, but Rose really is something else. I also think John Wall is a good mention. Wall is really a freak, too, and all signs point toward him being something truly special, too. I think Rose is, in many ways, another breed though with that speed, explosiveness and power.

    If Scottie Pippen helped create the “point forward, is Rose helping to create the “forward point”?

  • Jake from da burbs

    He actually would be more like a “Power Guard” because he has the unique blend of the vision/passing/speed of a PG, the scoring/range of a SG, the power/explosiveness of a PF.

    And imagine with a position like Power Guard, he could easily market it and sell like deodarant sticks… “The new breed in deodarant… Power Guard” LOL!

    • Omari

      I laugh when these reporters discuss Deerick Rose. Even no we know they hate Starbury because he didnt take the knicks to the promise land w the team he had; how could he. There are only two players that I saw you could make these comparsion to is Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson period. let get real sports guys there were only two dudes in this league you compare him too.. They are the only two that ran up in the Bigs face every nite… These dudes never tok a night off. Ask PAUL P he remind him of.. I love Jkiidd but he dominates the game w/o scoring, It took Billups Five to six years to find his way in the league. Rose came in and dominated like AI AND STAR com on there only two dudes that put these type of numbers. LOVE IS LOVE.. DONT GET IT TWISTED STARBURY IS BACK IN CHINA WORD IS HAD 55 POINTS IN A GAME. SO WHO EVER JUST DIDNT LIKE HIM SAID HE COULDNT PLAY SHAME ON YOU. CHECK OUT THE GQ ARTICLE ON USA TODAY.

  • Omari


  • Jack Dangermont

    Well said, Omari. Those were both very clear, thoughtful, and insightful responses. My favorite tip was to check out GQ articles on USA Today. Makes total sense…

    Looking forward to equally eloquent posts from you in the future.

  • JDubya

    Chuckie Ward? On a best ever list?

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