The arrival of Derrick Rose in Detroit came with mixed reactions amongst fans and media pundits in the Motor City.
When the Detroit Pistons signed the former NBA MVP this past offseason, it was unknown to many which version of the player would be suiting up.
On one hand, if healthy, Rose is an immediate upgrade in the backup point guard position to Reggie Jackson. Former Piston Ish Smith, who now plays for the Washington Wizards, was the primary backup to Jackson for three seasons. While Smith did his best last year, averaging 8.9 points and 3.6 assists per game off the bench, it wasn’t enough to retain him. Rose, however, averaged 18 points and 4.3 assists per game off the bench last season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. With that in mind, it’s a no-brainer that fans were excited about his arrival.
On the other hand, though, there’s his much talked about injury history, as Rose has not played more than 66 games in a season in close to a decade. As most know with sports though, the last memory fans have of you is the one that sticks out the most. Playing 51 games last season isn’t the last memory fans have of Rose prior to Detroit.
It was Halloween night 2018.
That’s when he turned back the clock and delivered a vintage “D-Rose” performance. He scored a career-high 50 points, as he led the Timberwolves to a 128-125 victory over the Utah Jazz. That’s the version fans were hoping to see in a Pistons uniform. Detroiters should brace themselves though.
The Pistons may trade this version very soon.
Better Than MVP Rose?
The Pistons find themselves in quite an interesting situation. Currently sitting at 14-25, they are only three and a half games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, with the team hampered with injuries to Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard, yielding a competitive playoff team could be difficult. Additionally, there are multiple reports that All-Star center Andre Drummond could be traded also.
So where does Rose fit in all of this? Well, it depends on what the future plans of the Pistons are.
As the halfway mark of this season approaches, Rose is having quite the “comeback” season. He’s averaging 17.8 points and 5.7 assists per game in limited minutes. The Pistons have been careful in monitoring Rose’s minutes and gameplay; sometimes not playing him in back-to-back games. However, if you judge his number on a Per 36 Min basis, he’s outperforming his MVP season. Under this metric, his per-game averages are 25.3 points and 8.2 assists whereas his MVP season (2010-2011) averages were 24.1 points and 7.4 assists under said metric. Additionally, as of January 9th, he’s in the top-ten of All-Star fan voting for Eastern Conference players with just over 900,000 votes. If selected, this would be his first All-Star game since 2012.
So with all of the positives surrounding Rose, one may ask “Why should the Pistons trade him?” After all, the team doesn’t have a point guard under contract after this season. Furthermore, Rose is a fan favorite in his short time with the team. They rise to their feet and shower him with cheers after each bucket he scores. He’s also visible at nearly all Pistons’ community service functions; something sticks with people in this city.
Simply put, the reason to trade Derrick Rose would be if he requests it or if the organization makes the decision to rebuild.
The Ring Chase
It’s safe to surmise that Rose didn’t foreshadow himself coming off the bench at any point in his career. Especially not at the age of 31. If anything, many would expect Rose to be in the prime of his career. Thing is, that is not the case here, largely due to his injury history. As a member of the Pistons, he has resurrected himself into a household name again. He’s proven that he could be the missing piece for a championship contender. Sadly for Detroit fans, the Pistons are nowhere near competing for a championship.
Rose isn’t getting any younger and his trade value may never be higher. Trading him to a championship contender is something Pistons management should consider. It wouldn’t be just to “do right” by the three-time All-Star. It would also start the process of a proper rebuild. With teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and several others looking for scoring power, the Pistons could potentially capitalize on many opportunities at the trade deadline. Every now and then, the trade deadline will showcase a team making a desperate (and head-scratching) trade. With Rose’s production this season, he has been on the radar of many teams according to multiple reports. While there has been no indication the Pistons would be willing to part ways with Rose, the team must do their due diligence in seeing what returns they could yield in a potential trade.
One thing for certain is that Rose came to Detroit and gave the organization and fans an MVP effort. In a blue-collar town like Detroit, that’s all fans ask for.
And it might be what they end up saying goodbye to.