Derrick Rose is having a tremendous year. That all his spectacular labor is for a bad team increases the likelihood that the former MVP is going to be traded. The Pistons need to get into the lottery and Rose wants to win.
His impressive numbers are glaring when you take into account he has never shot the ball with nearly 50% accuracy until this year. His 5.9 assists are coming off the bench and are numbers he hasn’t reached since the last time he was an All-star, the year of his ACL injury. That year, Rose averaged 21.8 ppg. This year’s average of 18.5 is his highest scoring mark since that glorious but fateful 2011-12 season. His PER of 22.1 is the third highest of his career and his 31.3 usage rate is his 4th highest despite only playing 26 minutes. Rose still dribbles the ball a ton. But if that is his only weakness, then expect Rose to be in the playoffs with a contender.
Rose has a team friendly contract of $7.3 million this year and next. Because he is thriving off the bench, adding Rose won’t wreck team chemistry. He has taken 342 jump shots and made 40% of them. 62% of his layups are easy points. Rose still has his quickness and finishing ability but don’t expect him to dunk the ball. Also, he is efficient right out the gate, shooting 56% in the first quarter, 53% in the third. At the finish, he is still lethal, 48%, and when he does make threes, it is in the 4th.
The Lakers who are trying to maintain the number 1 seed and at the same time create an advantage over the Clippers would love Derrick Rose. The Lakers are the only team in the NBA that has such a precipitous drop from second leading scorer to third-12.0 points. Their bench scoring is mostly by committee and whoever is hot in the moment. The Lakers don’t have a second unit organizer-scorer who creates respect, nor a particular versatile- at the rim or the midrange- offensive threat. Kyle Kuzma is inconsistent. He’s either dropping 20 ppg or 9 ppg. The rest of the LakeShow score intermittently. Against the Clippers it has hurt them significantly. The Clippers bring in Lou Williams and the Lakers just don’t have a counter. Which makes Rose perfect.
There is the awkward fit of Rose’s defense on a Lakers team that has a defensive identity. Rose just doesn’t have the footspeed to play 30 minutes a game. Opposing teams go after him on drives to the cup. The hope contending teams have is that Rose’s offensive energy and rim runs will balance out his ineptitude on defense.
The Lakers aren’t the only bidders. The Sixers need Rose too. They haven’t adequately addressed the Jimmy Butler hole. Philly needs scoring. Particularly when Joel Embiid is out the lineup and the bench is asked to do more. Rose would stabilize the bench as a scoring point and allow Ben Simmons more rest. He would be their glue. Furthermore, Rose would give experience to a team with two players over the age of 30 ( Mike Scott, Al Horford). Now that Josh Richardson is out with a hamstring injury, Philly, who is in the 6th seed in the East, need another scorer and pronto.
If not the Lakers or Sixers, then Dallas. Similar to the first half of last year, Dallas has hit a wall. Luka’s 3-point shot is weary. 25% against the Clippers. 0% against the Kings. 22% against the Warriors. 20% vs. the Lakers. 14% vs. Denver. In that stretch, the Mavs went 3-2. In the hyper competitive West, the Mavs tumbled from the 3rd seed to a tie with the tumbling Rockets and the 6th seed. And here comes Chris Paul and the Thunder.
The Mavs just lost Dwight Powell for the year with an Achilles tear. They need another offensive weapon that can be trusted. If Rose went to the Mavs, he would have the team’s highest field goal percentage of a 20+ minutes player, including Luka.
And so the hard (bad) luck story of Derrick Rose has finally hit a good stretch. It wasn’t so long ago that he wanted to quit the game and had to take a couple of breaks. Teams were ambivalent and it was a sad story. So much promised before injury changed the trajectory of his career. I am happy to say Derrick Rose is back. Really back. Teams are bidding for his services. Always a fan favorite, teams are on the Derrick Rose bandwagon. They believe in him again.