What the Cavs can reasonably expect out of Derrick Rose
There is no stranger situation in the NBA than what is going on in Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Cavaliers quickly became the talking point of the league, as star point guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade to leave the former world champions.
The NBA community was sent into a frenzy as new developments were delivered about the situation. Fans slowly began to put the pieces together, and the world has now been left waiting on the decision of both parties. Will Irving get traded? Or, will he have a change of heart and stay inside Quicken Loans Arena?
As the Cavs organization, fans, and players alike were left in shock and disappointment, the blow was slightly lessened when the Cavs acquired former MVP Derrick Rose for the veteran’s minimum just a few days ago. Rose was consistently linked with the Cavs for the past week, but everyone thought he would form a formidable partnership with Irving as his backup. No one envisioned Rose replacing the Duke product, and even despite the blow being fresh in the hearts of all Cavs fans, it has been a good piece of news in an otherwise traumatic and miserable week.
It was assumed Rose would be just another cog on a very talented Cavaliers team, but the news of Irving’s pending departure may change his role slightly. Rose may in fact now be the franchise’s starting point guard if the Cavs are unable to bring in a suitable replacement for Irving, so in the grand scheme of things, his presence in Wine and Gold could be considerably more important than first projected.
With the well-documented injury riddled history Rose has experienced, it’s somewhat unclear to some what exactly the Cavs will get from the athletic guard. Of course, all people involved with the franchise hope his worst injury days are behind him, and he contributes to the success of the franchise moving forward.
What Derrick brings to the table
In terms of his role, let’s take a closer look to what Rose will bring to the Cavaliers as they look to retain their status as the Eastern Conference’s top dog.
Despite his injury struggles, Rose can still flat out play the game. He may not move like he used to, or jump as high as he previously could, but this has forced him to improve other areas of his game that can help the Cavs.
One of those improvements is his outside shot. Pre-injuries, Rose would attack the rim at will, rarely settling for anything outside. Nowadays, Rose has developed a nice jumper which he leans on, especially in pick and roll situations. He has improved his stroke from beyond the three point line also, and even though he isn’t on the level of Irving in this department, he has added it to his arsenal if need be.
Many believe Rose’s past injuries stemmed from overplaying him. His former coach in Chicago, Tom Thibodeau, is known for leaving his stars on the floor for far too long. The almost unbearable load Rose had to take in Chicago no doubt took his toll, and his body may have broken down as a result of that.
Managing Rose’s minutes
In Cleveland, it will be a vastly different story. Rose is about to team up with the world’s best player in LeBron James, and the demanding workload he is familiar with will be lifted off his shoulders.
James will again do the heavy lifting and be at the heart of everything good for the Cavs, as Rose will be left to compliment the King as the opportunities present themselves. The dynamic point guard has played with some very talented players, but none are as good as James, and it will benefit not only his game, but more importantly, his body and health moving forward. James has a history of getting the best out of his teammates, and Rose will be no different.
Now, if the Cavs do in fact sign or trade for another point guard to replace Irving, this may leave Rose to start on the bench. This could, again, greatly benefit not only the Cavs, but Rose’s future health. Preserving him will be key, and lesser minutes in the regular season may point to more production come playoff time.
Coming off the bench would put Rose in another role of responsibility – fixing the Cavs’ bench scoring. The Cavaliers have an obvious issue with scoring the basketball when James sits, and Rose could go a long way to giving the kid from Akron some much needed rest as he continues to pile on the points as the second unit’s main man. Coming off the bench may be the best option for Rose, as he could dominate second units as well as play alongside the starters in crunch time.
Adios, New York
Rose was a part of the dysfunctional New York Knicks organization last season, and despite their poor record and ongoing off the court issues, Rose quietly had a stellar season. He didn’t receive the attention he deserved, and likely never will again after what he did in his MVP season, but his numbers and production were the best they’ve been since he has his first major knee injury. Rose averaged 18 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 47% from the field as he continued to show devastating speed and an increased ability to change direction and get to the basket. It was a welcome sign, and the Cavs might be acquiring Rose as he’s flying under the radar on the rise.
Major pay cut
An underrated sign for the Cavaliers’ faithful is Rose took a significant pay cut to come to The Land. After multiple meetings with both the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, Rose left a lot of money on the table to join a title contender. This outlines his commitment to the cause and his hunger to compete for a championship.
Early on during the 2016-17 season, Rose stated he was looking for another max contract this summer, but soon after realizing the market wasn’t as keen on him as he first anticipated, Rose now has a point to prove by playing himself into a bigger deal down the road, perhaps as soon as next summer. He doesn’t just have the desire to win, but from a financial standpoint, he knows he must deliver to continue to rebuild his reputation and status around the league.
Acquiring Rose was always going to be a good thing for the Cavs’ organization, whether Irving stays or not. Rose may have an injury plagued past, but no one wants to prove his doubters wrong more than the former MVP. He will play with a chip on his shoulder this entire campaign, and with the opportunity to compete for a championship ring he’s always desired, the Cavs might have pulled off the NBA’s biggest steal this off-season by snaring Rose on a veteran’s minimum contract.