Signing Derrick Rose was the right move for Detroit Pistons

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 13: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during the game against the Houston Rockets on February 13, 2019 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 13: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during the game against the Houston Rockets on February 13, 2019 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons made a great move by signing the former MVP Derrick Rose to a two-year, 15 million dollar contract as soon as free agency started up.

The Detroit Pistons were heading into free agency with intentions to improve their backup point guard position since former Piston Ish Smith contract had expired. There were quite a few options for the Pistons this off-season.

The vast majority of Pistons fans and followers wanted brother of Stephen Curry, Seth Curry.

It makes sense why.

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Curry is a career 44 percent three-point shooter. The lack of shooting from Smith the last three seasons (31 percent three-point shooter as a Piston) caused many problems for the Pistons bench in the half-court, so going in a completely different direction would make sense.

Pistons were also 6th in NBA in three-point attempts this past season. However, the problem was that they also ranked 23rd in three-point percentage. It was clear Dwane Casey’s offense wanted to put an emphasis on shooting tons of three’s, but it won’t be very successful obviously if you have no shooters to make said shots.

So, once again, it makes sense why the majority of people were looking at Curry’s name for the replacement of Smith.

But, Ed Stefanski and the Pistons went down the riskier road.

As soon as free agency started, the Pistons agreed to sign former league MVP Derrick Rose to a two-year, 15 million dollar contract.

Rose has had a rocky career, one that started with him becoming the youngest MVP in NBA History. One that also saw injuries take away a prime we never got to see. At one point two seasons ago, Rose was a throw-in in a trade involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz.

He was immediately released from the Jazz after the trade went through.

It looked like Rose’s sad career was over, but he was given a chance by the Minnesota Timberwolves this past season.

Boy did that chance pay off for them.

Rose averaged 27.3 minutes per game off the bench for the Timberwolves this past season, putting up averages of 18.0 points, 4.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, while shooting a career-high 37 percent from beyond the arc. Rose was incredibly efficient this past season, putting up a career-high 55.7 true shooting percentage.

Rose had an amazing bounce-back season for Minnesota.

Signing Rose over the rest of the point guards on the market was the correct decision for Detroit and something this writer has been on board with since the Pistons seasons ended.

But, let us talk about why there are folks who are not on board with this signing.

Well, for one, there is an off-court reason why some don’t want him in Detroit. Rose was accused in a civil lawsuit of rape in 2016 by his former girlfriend. He was found not liable and an appeal in 2018 was denied. I’m not here to talk about this, but if you don’t know about this and want to develop your own opinion on that here’s a link.

For basketball reasons, well, the demons that have haunted since the 2012 playoffs are still around.

Rose only played in 51 games last season due to an ankle and elbow injury, the latter requiring surgery to heal.

Pistons fans have had enough of point guard injuries after Detroit had their seasons ruined due to injuries to Reggie Jackson‘s ankle in 2016 and 2017. Jackson finally was healthy this past season, playing in all 82 games and four playoff games.

But, of course, the point guard injuries still came for the Detroit Pistons. Smith got hurt in early December and while he was out, the Pistons had to rely upon the skeleton of Jose Calderon. The Pistons went 5-14 while Smith was out, and this stretch of games is believed by many Piston followers to have somewhat ruined their season.

It’s bad enough for your starting point guard to have an injury history, but your backup point guard too? When your team has clearly shown it can’t survive an injury to either of them?

Yeah, many are a bit terrified of this.

Another reason some are hesitant on Rose is three-point shot. Rose shot a career-high 37 percent this past season but really struggled to shoot the ball after January 11th, shooting only 12 percent from long-distance in the 19 games he played in after this date.

But, I’m going to tell you all why context is needed in basketball. You’ll likely notice by the end of this article that some people will purposefully leave context out when involving a player they simply don’t like.

Rose was healthy for the first 32 games of his 51 game season, sitting out only three games due to rest. In these games, Rose was shooting 46 percent from deep on 3.2 attempts per game.

His injury demons returned after that when Rose suffered an injury to his ankle and his shooting elbow. Rose missed the next six games and returned to play through the injury.

He only played 19 games after this point, which are indeed the 19 games he shot 12 percent from beyond the arc. I, myself, do not think it’s just a coincidence that once Rose injured his shooting arm and had bones floating around in his elbow his shooting plummeted.

Some are either too lazy or simply don’t want to include this context with Rose this past season, you can come up with your own explanation why.

And still, on the season Rose shot an incredibly impressive 38.2 percent on pull-up three-point attempts. He also shot 39 percent on “open/wide-open” three-point attempts. To compare to Jackson, who shot 38 percent on the same type(s) of shots.

The fact of the matter is, Rose was a vastly improved shooter coming into this season and the injury to his elbow really destroyed what was seriously a career year. Which is crazy to say since the dude won an MVP award, but it truly was a career year for him.

“But Ku, that is precisely the reason we don’t like the signing. He can’t stay healthy!”

Well, hold on there my loyal reader. I’ll come back to that later on.

Anyways, Rose has been vocal about the work he had put into his jump shot over the past few off-seasons. He has often talked about finding his “one-two” being a big part of his shooting improvement this past season.

Yours truly had seen and heard Rose work on his outside shot in what was his first healthy off-season in years last summer.

(By the way, first healthy off-season in years translates to his game developing? Sounds awfully familiar…)

Yours truly also PREDICTED that Rose would have a career shooting season before the season even started (I’m still waiting on my money, Shameek).

So yes, I do believe Rose is vastly improved, three-point shooter. I do not believe this was a one-year standout season and I also don’t believe the elbow injury had nothing to do with his shooting plummeting after January.

Now, do I think Rose is the 46 percent shooter he was before the injury? Hell no.

He’s likely in the middle of his previous career-high (33 percent) and 40 percent. That is still considered a good shooter and a MUCH better shooter than Smith.

This is the fairest criticism or reason for hesitancy with Rose. On the entire season, Rose still only shot 146 three-point attempts, making only 54 on the season. That is a small sample size to work with, so I understand being hesitant to believe this season was for real and not a fluke.

To make a comparison, Jackson made more threes this past season (174) than Rose even attempted.

However, knowing the amount of work that was put into his shot and noticeable difference in his jump-shot form/release/rhythm/etc. and straight-up results pre-injury gives me a reason to believe it was not a fluke.

And let’s just say it was a fluke and he doesn’t shoot close to 40 percent like he was trending before the injury in January, he is still going to shoot better than the 31 percent Smith did as a Piston.

No, I did not forget your statement earlier, my loyal reader.

I’ll agree, the injury concerns are really my only concern with this signing.


There’s a reason Jackson played in 82 games this past season and all four playoff games.

There’s a reason why Blake Griffin played in the most games (75) this past season since 2014 (80).

That reason is no other than Arnie Kander.

Kander is literally like the Jesus of trainers. I’m going to link this article from 2009 by Calvin Kiple of Bleacher Report, where Kander is called, “the best trainer in the NBA”, just in case any of you reading do not know the miracles of Mr. Kander.

If there was anyone who could keep Rose healthy, it is indeed Kander.

Am I saying Rose will play all 82 games this upcoming season? No.

What I am saying is if there was one person in this entire universe who’d I trust to keep Rose healthy and therefore getting the utmost reward out of signing Rose, it would one thousand percent be Arnie Kander.

And when he’s healthy, Rose is an absolute beast.

Take a look at his synergy chart tweeted by Duncan Smith (Hi, Duncan).

I don’t care whether you like him or not. There is simply no denying that Rose is one of the best players at getting to the hole and putting the ball in the basket. Rose was “Excellent” in isolation situations, finishing in the 89th percentile.

People will have you believe that Rose has lost all the athleticism that made him the MVP in 2011, but that is simply not true. Rose is still one of the most insane athletes in the league, and there are not many people (if there are any) who can really stop him from getting to the cup.

I mean, just watch this clip. Rose straight up just goes right at Rudy Gobert and his athleticism allows him to just explode over him. Rose may not have a high amount of dunks in a season anymore, but as you can see here, that is more of a personal choice to protect himself rather than an inability to do so.

And while shooting was a need for this team heading into the off-season, I will argue players who can score the basketball was an even bigger issue.

Who on the Detroit Pistons can get their own bucket besides Griffin?

Jackson? Only IF he’s healthy and given the permission by Casey to run pick and rolls with Andre Drummond.

Luke Kennard? Yeah, but we’re still dealing with him being scared to let it fly. When Kennard is letting it rip, he is likely the second-best scorer on the team.

And… Oh, I think that’s it.

We all witnessed Griffin break down at the end of the season, due to what many of us believe to be the cause of carrying such an offensive load during the season. And when Griffin sits, the Pistons need someone else on the court who can score the ball or simply draw the attention of the defense.

I’m sorry, but, the fastbreak streetball highlights by Smith got tiring. Yes, it was cool to see the Pistons in the top 10 plays every night on But dude, it was not cool to see our halfcourt offense look like one of Chippewa Valley high school’s any time Jackson and Griffin had a Gatorade sign next to their name.

Yes, Chippewa Valley is my former high school (shoutout Class of 2016).

The point is Rose immediately would become the Pistons second-best scorer on the team, and it would be coming off the bench. Which, by the way, the Detroit Pistons also lacked offensive punch from last year, ranking 20th in the NBA in bench scoring at 35.7.

Rose is a risk/reward type of signing. If you believe in Kander’s ability to keep Rose healthy, you are getting a starting-caliber point guard as a sixth man coming off the bench. The reward is extremely high for the Pistons in this case.

The risk, Rose gets hurt and can’t stay healthy for the season. You end up being forced to rely on your third point guard to play the games Rose is out.

Which, may I say, will not be as bad as previous years. In previous cases, the Pistons have had dudes old enough to be my grandfather as their third point guard who was clearly incapable of playing (Calderon, Jameer Nelson, Steve Blake).

The Pistons have signed Tim Frazier to be their third point guard and also have rookie Jordan Bone on a two-way contract heading into the season. If Rose were to get hurt and miss some games that’d suck, but Detroit is in much better hands with Frazier there rather than Darth Sidious.

Also, Rose is very capable of holding down the starting spot if Jackson were to go down; something you couldn’t say for Smith. When Jackson went down in 2016 and 2017, it felt like we were watching someone scratch a chalkboard on offense with Smith in control.

This past season, Rose started in 13 games for the Timberwolves. In these 13 games, Rose averaged 21.2 points and 6.1 assists per game. The Timberwolves were a +2.5 when Rose was on the court in these 13 games, which also included his 50 point career-high game.

Yeah, I know those numbers look like someone who should be pushing for an All-Star bid.

I digress.

Listen, guys.

Obviously, the biggest concern is whether he can stay healthy. This concern, I’ll admit, outweighs ANY positive thing I can say about him. It doesn’t matter how good he is starting or how good he is when he’s healthy coming off the bench if he’s… just never healthy.

However, the Detroit Pistons obviously believe that Kander and their medical staff can work the same miracle they did with Jackson and Griffin on Rose this year.

And a healthy Rose is going to bloom and reap more benefits than any other signing the Detroit Pistons could’ve signed this off-season.

Next. A trade that could move the needle for Pistons. dark

Derrick Rose gave the Pistons the highest ceiling of any free agent point guard. It was the right decision not to pass that possibility up.