Detroit Pistons: Decisions to come regarding Derrick Rose’s future

July 21st, 2020 in Pistons By Bob Heyrman

Did the Detroit Pistons drop the ball by not trading a rejuvenated Derrick Rose leading up to the trade deadline?  Where do they go from here?

Before the start of last season, Derrick Rose signed a two-year $15-million deal with the Detroit Pistons after showing flashes of turning back the clock during his time the year prior with the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Rose mentioned he’d have one thing left in his career to accomplish, winning an NBA title.

Some Pistons fans smiled in disbelief, others like myself felt a bit optimistic, could this team make some noise in the Eastern Conference now that LeBron and Kawhi are gone?  Maybe 2019-20 would be the perfect storm because Kevin Durant is out for the year.  Oh, but one hurdle to jump, that Milwaukee team that didn’t crack a sweat sweeping Detroit out of the first round of the playoffs the year prior. Also, don’t forget the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors. Suddenly that offseason optimism started to quickly fade as we placed the Pistons back as a six or seven seed.

That’s when the questions started to arise.

Would Rose be able to remain healthy?  Rose had been limited to 51 games but averaged 18 points per game, and found a way to score over 50 in one contest, proving he had plenty left in the tank.

The Pistons planned to use Rose to back up Reggie Jackson, but after Jackson found himself injured, it was Rose that stepped up in a big way.  During his first year in Detroit, Rose found himself the focal point of an offense again that would be missing not only Jackson but star forward Blake Griffen and starting guard Luke Kennard.

The plethora of injuries derailed the Detroit season before it could even really get started, leaving the fans to track a premier name like Derrick Rose from game-to-game became one of the only things to look forward to night after night out surrounding the team.  That six or seven seed became a fairytale, leaving Detroit to finish as a lottery team, joining all of the other major sports franchises in the city.

It was Rose playing with a boat anchor-type center Andre Drummond and a bunch of misfits.  Sure, as the season wore on and the rebound king, Drummond, landed in Cleveland, we found an emerging star in Christian Wood.  He’d shown flashes of brilliance at times during the season but seemed to put it all together playing as the leading big on the Pistons.

It’s been a roller-coaster career for the former league MVP.  Rose playing for his hometown Bulls broke into the league with a vengeance, then the injuries started to mount, Rose faded quickly after missing the entire 2012-13 campaign.  He’d have stops in New York, that didn’t go over well after he left the city without telling anyone stirring quite a fuss.  Rose tried to latch on with LeBron James in Cleveland but ended up being shipped out to Utah before being promptly released.  After his release, he signed with Minnesota and started to rejuvenate his career.

Derrick suffered a few setbacks this past season with the Pistons but still found himself playing in 50 games despite starting in just 15, although he’d proved to be once again dominant on the court.  You could make an argument and easily support Rose winning the sixth man of the year award in the NBA this season.

Rose went on to average 18.1 points per game to go along with a .490 field goal percentage, 5.6 assists, and 2.4 boards.  Derrick struggled from three at times, only converting on 30% of his three-point attempts, a seven percent decrease from the year prior. Rose proved once again to be fearless driving the lane and finishing at the rack or converting with that patented pull-up mid-range jumper.

As the trade deadline approached, the Pistons failed to move the surging star point guard.  A reunion with LeBron in Los Angeles seemed like a perfect fit.  The Lakers and Rose continued to come up in the headlines, but nothing ended up materializing.

What about the Clippers?  They ended up signing former Pistons guard Reggie Jackson after he’d been granted his release from Detroit.  Surely, Rose coming in off the bench could have been a better option.  There was a market to move him, but Detroit decided to play the lottery, hoping he’d regain his form next season, entering the final year of his extremely affordable $7.5 million salary.

In a perfect world, Rose continues to play right where he left off next season, and the Detroit Pistons in all likelihood will be fielding a very young backcourt leaving Rose to mentor a young point guard for the first half of next season with hopes of moving him to a contender at the deadline.  Maybe LaMelo Ball will be that young guard.  It is very possible.