Last night on Twitter I was reminded that newly acquired Derrick Rose was a former MVP (I had no idea!), a three time All Star (that many!), and better than any Knick guard from 2016 (you don’t say!). I was accused of being a hater (not me!), and making controversy just so I could write for Bleacher Report (that’ll show those high school bullies!).
Yet when I turn to the numbers, there are so many reasons to dislike this trade. For a scorer, his efficiency has been awful. His true shooting percentage has been under 50% for three seasons, and only once in his career has he been over the league average. Heck even PER, a measure that usually overrates high volume scorers like Rose, is lukewarm on the former Bulls guard over that time with ratings of 9.7, 15.9, and 13.5.
Granted 2014 was a partial year only 10 games played, so it might be unfair to include it alongside the other two. However it brings us to our next point: Rose’s health. He’s averaged 33 games per year over the last 5 seasons, and missed nearly all of ’13 & ’14. To boot, it’s pretty clear that his injury has left him a different player. His averages from ’09-’12 are much higher than his post injury seasons (PER: 19.9 to 14.1, ts% 53.4 to 48.2). So it’s unlikely that Rose will play much, but even if he does he’s unlikely to be anything close to his most productive self.
Next is Rose’s style of play. If the Knicks are running the triangle, the role of the point guard is (to state simply) stand in the corner and make threes. Career-wise, Rose has attempted 31.4% of his shots from under the hoop, followed by 24.0% of long twos, and he’s a pretty bad three point shooter (30.2%). Watch this video of Rose, and you’ll see a lot of screens set for him, which is not run commonly in the triangle. In essence he’s an anti-triangle PG.
So to sum up for next year, Rose may not play much, but if he does he’s likely to be highly inefficient. Additionally if he does, the Knicks would be wise to abandon the triangle, which doesn’t fit D-Rose’s playing style.
OK so if you stuck around this far, you must be a hardcore Knicks fan. So I’ll give you the positives of this trade. First is that Rose’s contract expires next year, whereas Robin Lopez’ lasts 3 more seasons and Grant 4. So by next summer New York will have $16M more to work with (unless they use it this year!). So if you only follow the financial aspects of the NBA, this is a win for the Knicks.
The second positive is RoLo’s departure leaves a 7 foot hole at center, which the Knicks will almost certainly fill with their 7’3″ wunderkind. Unless the Knicks get a high profile center (Dwight Howard?), it’s almost a certainty that Porzingis will be among the starting 5 on opening day. Remember this day as the start of the Godzingis era.
The third and final upside to this trade is that Rose is likely to be a inefficient/oft-injured player at a position the Knicks don’t have much depth. So it’s possible that the Knicks will finish with a bad record next year, unless Porzingis goes full beast mode. And while another losing season isn’t something I look forward to, a high lottery pick next summer would actually be more beneficial to the long terms prospect of the team than an 8th seed. Yes the Knicks have their own first round pick next year!
So while you’re watching the second coming of Steve Francis on the court (or on the bench in sweats), know that there are some beneficial aspects to this deal. But much like that slow return investment, you’re going to have to wait a year or two to reap the rewards.