• James O'Reilly

A look at the Rose trade

On the 7th February, it was confirmed that Derrick Rose had been traded from the Detroit Pistons.

The move was no surprise to fans. Ever since Rose signed with Detroit as a free agent, signing a two-year, $15 million deal in the 2019 off-season, supporters of the Chicago native have advocated a trade in order to put the Windy City Assassin onto a better team. Detroit are in a clear rebuild, favouring a timeline that Rose’s age will never suit. Many speculated a move to LA, both the Lakers and the Clippers being discussed as hopeful destinations. With mention of those two teams alone, the calibre of fan expectation was clear and you can imagine their surprise at Rose’s eventual destination.

For the price of Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second round pick, Detroit sent the 2011 MVP back to the Big Apple, reuniting the guard with former coach Tom Thibodeau, and former team, the New York Knicks. The trade makes sense for the Pistons. They received a draft pick and a young guard who has been drained of the confidence that made him such a spectacle when he was in Dallas. With Smith having been ready to go into the G-League bubble to re-establish himself, he may find himself usurping the role Rose was playing as one of Detroit’s two rotational point guards. You have to say, Hayes and Smith Jr. definitely have potential, it’s just up to Detroit to realise such.

The trade is certainly more of an interesting one, perhaps more nonsensical, for the New York Knicks. There is at least one factor that is understandable with the arrival of Rose. Thibodeau coached Rose through his Bulls glory and his Minnesota redemption. New York have brought someone in who understands every aspect of their coaches game.

In a bench role for the Pistons, Rose has averaged 14.2 points per game on 43% from the field, whilst too shooting 33% from three. Rose is having a very solid season, and his ability shouldn’t be doubted. As a point guard, however, it is a fair notion to assume that one of New York’s current guards will be dropped from the rotation.

New York currently run a two (point) guard rotation of Elfrid Payton and Immanuel Quickley. They too have Frank Ntilikina on the roster, but the Frenchman has never managed to make an impact at the Garden. Rose’s trade creates a log jam, with there now being three capable point guards on the Knicks. Elfrid Payton is, at best, an okay player. Averaging 11.9 points and 3.7 assists as a starting point guard is hardly impressive, but he’s at least of NBA quality.

Immanuel Quickley, however, has taken the NBA by storm as of late. Chosen with the 25th pick in the 2020 Draft, New York’s number 5 has already outperformed his expectations and now continues to set the bar higher each game. With per game averages of 12 points and 2.7 assists, a 56% true shooting percentage and a floater that seems as though it has never missed, Quickley is an exciting watch. His ability, pace and athleticism have given him a major claim to take the starting spot from Payton. With the arrival of Rose however, will this still be the case?

There are no doubts that Rose will happily mentor Quickley. Rose is a veteran and was comfortable with assisting the rookies whilst in Detroit. The confusion comes once more

with that timeline that Rose has seemingly struggled to fit this season. A 32-year-old, starter-quality player, on a team with a potential young core of Quickley, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, supported by a Julius Randle playing some of the best basketball of his life, who too is only in his mid-twenties. The addition and inevitable incorporation of a new player in his thirties is a questionable one, as it seems to completely go against the general direction of the Knicks and their future.

In New York’s defence, Rose is an expiring contract that will help them further push for the playoffs. The presence of Derrick Rose will obviously boost their chances, but New York would surely have to trade one of their guards to make it work. Payton, rightly so, would be immensely unhappy with no playing time, and to stop Quickley playing would be blasphemous, halting his immense development.

Overall, New York got a good return for what they gave up. A seasoned veteran with an understanding of their system looks brilliant on paper. The questions, of course, surround the other guards on the roster. Regardless of the positives, bringing in a new guard to potentially take the place of one of their most exciting developments of the season hardly seems logical. Fans and neutrals alike can only hope the move works out for Rose and New York, and pray that no-one has their development unfairly stunted.

Written by James O'Reilly


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