The Detroit Pistons leaning on Derrick Rose may hurt them

With the increase in inconsistency across the board for the Detroit Pistons, there’s been a regular worry that it may effect one of their key pieces.

It’s no secret to even the most casual of NBA fans that Derrick Rose has a long history with injuries that at times have derailed his career. The former MVP landed with a new team this past summer, and it was the Detroit Pistons.

The biggest issue that was pointed out was the obvious one – the Pistons are once again relying on a key piece to remain healthy.

Rose’s explosiveness hasn’t wavered entirely, as he still regularly shows glimpses of his past-MVP self while attacking the basket. Through 8 games played this season, Rose is averaging 18.4 points and 5.8 assists per game on 54.1 percent shooting from the field. He has been an enormous part of what little success the Pistons have seen this season.

It’s also worth noting that Rose has also missed five games this season with a hamstring strain.

There was no expectation that Rose would play every single game this season. That’s a rarity even for players without  a history of significant injuries. The Pistons could likely maximize Rose’s usage keeping him on the 20-25 minutes per game restriction that he’s been on to begin the season. Doing this could possibly get around 60-65 games out of him.

Here’s the problem – it feels as if Detroit tends to rely on Rose to bail them out of deficits when the second unit hits the floor.

The explosive spark he’s able to provide coming off of the bench is something that the Pistons regularly lacked a season ago. Rose is able to quickly attack defenses either on isolation moves towards the basket, or on pick and rolls with either Andre Drummond or Christian Wood.

Rose’s court vision has also been admirable to open the season, however his explosiveness is sometimes a fault of his. He’s frequently utilizes jump passes, which can either lead to quick open shots, or a player not being prepared to receive the ball, or a completely errant pass that misses the mark entirely.

In what could have been a game-winning possession in the Pistons most recent loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the latter was on display. Rose uses a high screen from Blake Griffin to get to the rim, before making a last second decision to push the ball back out to the perimeter.

The target was Langston Galloway (who had scored a career high 32 points) who – even if he had not shifted over to the corner, the pass would have been off the mark and would have caused an unnatural and heavily contested shot.

Call it a miscommunication or call it a bad play, either way it resulted in a loss.

It’s certainly worth noting that this was the first significant lapse that Rose has had all season, in what has otherwise been a terrific start to the season for him. Nevertheless, Detroit needs to remain cautious.

Although just eyeing the box scores may not give you the proper story, the Pistons are a better offensive team when Rose is on the floor. The Pistons have an offensive rating of 113.6 when Rose is on the floor versus a 107.9 rating when he’s off, a difference of +5.7.

What is interesting is the Pistons assist on 15.2% less baskets when Rose is on the court, but as it was previously mentioned this is likely due to his ability to create his own offense off the dribble and utilizing pick and rolls, so players won’t be directly assisting him too often.

The dilemia has become “when should Detroit begin to put him in the starting lineup?”

Never. The answer is likely never.

If and when it becomes absolutely essential, then Dwane Casey will give the green light. However, when the Pistons fall behind and eventually pull their starters, it’s generally up to Rose and company (but mainly Rose) to try and salvage the game. By starting Rose, you begin to prolong the inevitable. Sure, Detroit may jump out to a lead, but as soon as that new second unit comes in, that lead is instantly jeopardized.

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If Detroit continues to rely on him to bail them out of situations, it could take its toll. That’s the worry. Rose cannot continue to solely carry the load when the starters leave the floor.


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