In 2011, a 22-year-old Derrick Rose was named the youngest MVP in NBA history after averaging 25.0 points and 7.7 assists for the 62-20 Chicago Bulls.
Despite a spate of injuries in the years following that campaign, his coach in 2010-11, Tom Thibodeau, has always appeared to be in his corner. And following a Super Bowl Sunday trade that sends Rose to the New York Knicks, the two will be united for the third time in their careers.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski shared the details of the deal between the Knicks and Detroit Pistons: ” Detroit has agreed to trade guard Derrick Rose to New York for Dennis Smith Jr., and a 2021 second-round pick (via Charlotte), sources tell ESPN. Rose reunites with Tom Thibodeau, who coached him in Chicago and Minnesota.”
A decade after that MVP run, Rose obviously isn’t the player he was then, but his production over the last few seasons might be closer to peak levels than you think.
Rose in 2010-11: 26.7 points, 8.2 assists and 1.7 threes per 75 possessions, plus-0.9 relative true shooting percentage, 6.8 box plus/minus, plus-8.8 net rating (plus-2.8 swing)
Rose since the start of 2018-19: 25.7 points, 7.9 assists and 1.3 threes per 75 possessions, minus-0.8 relative true shooting percentage, 2.2 box plus/minus, minus-2.4 net rating (plus-1.1 swing)
No, the advanced numbers aren’t quite where they were at Rose’s peak, but he’s emerged from the other side of his injury woes to once again be a positively impacting player. And for a Knicks squad that’s closer to playoff contention than expected, he should help, especially given what it took to get him.
Of course, Rose and the Knicks aren’t the only participants in this trade. There are other winners and a potential loser, all of whom can be found below.
Dennis Smith Jr., the No. 9 pick of the 2017 draft, has appeared in just three games this season. In 2019-20, he made 34 appearances and averaged 5.5 points with a truly woeful 39.9 true shooting percentage.
Barring a borderline miraculous career U-turn, DSJ was not going to help New York compete for a playoff spot this season. So, replacing him with Rose is a clear win.
Of course, there’s an argument that the Knicks should value draft capital a bit more in this phase of team-building, but a second-rounder is far from a sure thing. And there is still plenty of young talent on the roster in need of development, including RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox II, Obi Toppin and Mitchell Robinson.
In the short term, Rose should help solidify the postseason chase (or at least an appearance in the play-in tournament). And his veteran savvy could help the youngsters.
Prior to this season, he signaled a desire to mentor young Pistons guard Killian Hayes: #Pistons Derrick Rose on working with Killian Hayes: “It’s been a while since I had somebody like this (learning) under me. The last time was Marquis Teague. I’m excited to see how hard he works and the engine and motor he has.”
A similar attitude toward the aforementioned Knicks could pay dividends down the line.
Loser: Killian Hayes
Losing that mentor certainly isn’t a death knell for Hayes’ development, and Smith may be closer to salary fodder than a piece of Detroit’s future, but a young(ish) point guard with lottery pedigree is more competition than Rose was.
The veteran made it clear he wasn’t looking to compete with Hayes: #Pistons Derrick Rose on mentoring Killian Hayes: “I told him he was the future of the team…there’s no competing. My job is to push him and groom him into a great player.”
Smith, on the other hand, has to feel a sense of desperation. This is the final season of his rookie contract. Continuing to flounder the way he has over the last season-plus could seriously jeopardize his chances for another contract. His career might depend on taking minutes from Hayes (assuming he returns from a labral tear this season).
Of course, there’s a way to spin this positively. Being pushed could be a good thing for Hayes. He’s only played in seven games, but they couldn’t have gone much worse (at least statistically).
Among the 399 rookies since 1984-85 to play at least as many minutes as Hayes in their first seven games, Hayes’ box plus/minus ranks 399th.
He averaged 4.6 points and 3.6 assists in 21.1 minutes while shooting 27.7 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from three.
A little pressure from another guard might drive Hayes to work harder off the floor to get his rookie season on track.
Winner: Derrick Rose
As Rose nears his mid-30s, playing for one of the worst teams in the league surely generated little interest. The Knicks are nowhere near title contention, but they at least have a reasonable shot at the playoffs.
That’s an obvious situational upgrade for Rose.
Working with Thibodeau should appeal to the veteran, too. Over the years, he’s expressed his belief in Rose as a player by word and deed.
In their third stint together, they can help one of the league’s most storied franchises get back to the postseason for the first time since 2013 and prepare its prospects for long and successful careers.
Winner: Detroit Pistons
There are some bright spots in this Pistons season. Chief among them is Jerami Grant’s breakout as a No. 1 option. Few would argue there’s much short-term hope here, though. They have the worst record in the league and almost no shot at the playoffs.
So, unloading Rose’s expiring contract for a flier on Smith and any draft assets was a no-brainer. The fact that Detroit got a second-rounder probably means a first wasn’t available elsewhere.
Again, this pick isn’t super valuable. Anything from the draft brings uncertainty with it. But Detroit should be very firmly in asset-accumulation mode. It needs as many bites at the apple, so to speak, as possible.
Grant turns 27 in March. Between Hayes, Sekou Doumbouya and Saddiq Bey, there doesn’t appear to be a single player on the roster who’s likely to become a superstar. Detroit needs as many chances as possible to find that kind of talent.
Typically, NBA trades give us plenty more potential “losers” to detail in a format like this, but this particular deal doesn’t involve much risk either way.
Injuries or age might prevent Rose from making much of an impact in New York. If the playoff hunt slips out of reach down the stretch, the front office might look back on this deal and wish it still had the pick it relinquished. It’s not like the Knicks gave up an unprotected first, though.
The potential upside of bringing some excitement and meaningful late-season basketball to the fanbase is well worth this price.
For Detroit, there was really nothing to lose. Rose isn’t a part of the long-term plans. This beats losing him for nothing in free agency.
(Contributor, Andy Bailey)