NBA discovers what Detroit Pistons knew: Derrick Rose still good

May 23, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives past New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4). Mandatory Credit: Seth Wenig/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives past New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4). Mandatory Credit: Seth Wenig/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /

Derrick Rose rehabilitated his career with the Detroit Pistons. The former MVP’s resurrected game was on display in the NBA playoffs for the New York Knicks.

That Derrick Rose was a standout for the Knicks when the spotlight was brightest did not come as any surprise to Detroit Pistons fans. It was just, no one really noticed how good Rose was with them.

While the person the media voted Most Improved Player over Jerami Grant crumbled, Rose provided what little offense the Knicks had, as the No. 4 seed was brushed aside easily by the No. 5 Atlanta Hawks, 4 games to 1.

In five playoff games, Rose averaged 19.4 points, (22.8 points in first four, in 5th game he played little due to injuries). He also had 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists (to just 1.6 turnovers).

Not bad for an injury-ravaged player who the Pistons took a chance on, signing the 2011 NBA MVP to a two-year $15 million deal in July, 2019.

light. Related Story. Detroit Pistons sign Derrick Rose to two-year, $15 million deal

Rose did have a nice season for Minnesota the year before, averaging 18 points. However, the main reason he had gone there, coach Tom Thibodeau, who had coached him in Chicago, was fired in January. Rose’s season had ended early due to yet another injury, this time bone chips in the elbow.

Combined with three knee operations, Rose’s injury history was quite long. He had not played more than 51 games in a season since 2016-17 (ironically for the Knicks). So NBA teams were not lining up to throw money at Rose, as he became a free agent in 2019.

But the Pistons were looking to upgrade their point guard position. They had made the playoffs the previous season, only to get swept  by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Since they were obviously solid upfront for years to come with center Andre Drummond and forward Blake Griffin, with what money they had for free agency (which was not much) they decided to take a flier on Rose.

Everything else for Detroit crumbled like Blake Griffin’s knee in 2019-20, but the gamble on Rose paid off.

While he was not 2011 MVP-level Derrick Rose, he showed he was still quite an effective player. Coach Dwane Casey, mindful of his past injuries, mostly brought Rose off the bench. He became one of the top Sixth Men in the league, averaging 18 points and 5.6 assists.

Rose still could break down a defender off the dribble. Additionally, the Pistons also discovered he was a great leader on the court and in the locker room. As the team faltered and went with younger players, Rose became a mentor to many of them.

All of this was well-known to Pistons fans and those who followed the NBA closely. But Detroit did not exist as far as the national TV networks and media were concerned.

Rose popped back on their radar when he was traded in February to the Knicks. He did well enough to finish third in Sixth Man Award voting.

Rose’s deal he signed with Detroit has now expired, and he is an unrestricted free agent. Rose says he has no idea where he will play next year.

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It must have kind of interesting to see the national spotlight on Rose and a playoff offense that revolved around him. But, if people had cared to look earlier, Rose had played just as well in Detroit.