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DRose to the Land: A Perfect Match?

Signing Derrick Rose at the Right Price is Worth the Risk

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Reports have surfaced  per ESPN reporters Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski that Free Agent Point Guard Derrick Rose may join LeBron James and company’s quest to bring another NBA Title to Cleveland.

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An injury prone Rose would be an upgrade over Deron Williams, which isn’t saying much. But what is the likelihood Rose will make it through the year following a season- ending injury last April?

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CHICAGO – DECEMBER 04: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls goes for a dunk during the NBA game against the Houston Rockets on December 4, 2010 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Derrick Rose

Rose entered the association in 2008 and set the NBA ablaze. However, after his first major injury, he never could return to MVP form.

An injury riddled few seasons signaled the end of his time in Chicago. He went to New York – and teammate Joakim Noah tagged along – in hopes of helping the Knicks transition from the laughing-stock of the league into a respectable Eastern Conference threat.

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Despite teaming up with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingas, the Knicks remained the court jester of the NBA. New York would win only 31 games and finish 12th in the East – missing the playoffs yet again.

Rose did not complete the season in 2016-17 and played 64 of 82 games. The previous season – 66 games. The year before that, 51. Although Rose missed time in the 2014-15 season, he did return in time for the postseason. Rose had his Bulls positioned with a 2-1 lead over the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. LeBron would end up winning the showdown and end Rose’s post season.

This is what is polarizing about Rose. He’s played in more games year after year since 2013. He also is only a few years removed from holding a 2-1 series lead over a Cleveland Cavaliers – who swept the two other Eastern Conference opponents that season.

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When healthy, Rose can help any team he’s on. But the problem is there is so much uncertainty, it makes the decision to sign him a head scratcher.

He hasn’t averaged more than 20 PPG since the 2011-12 season. However, last year was the closest he’s been to reaching 20 – as he averaged 19.5 PPG. Rose is not going to be a deadly 3-point shooter – but he never was. He’s was an 87% Free Throw shooter – which is much better than LeBron’s 67% average from the charity stripe last season.

But Deron Williams had a higher free throw percentage than LeBron last season? Well, yes that’s true. But Rose can offer more of an offensive threat than Williams can or did last season. They are on two completely different levels.

The problem is can Rose’s body handle driving the ball into the paint to get the calls resulting in free throw points. Ask Chicago Fans – in fact, ask any basketball fan – if they don’t hold their breath when Rose is driving to the hoop.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks
Mar 5, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) drives against New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose (25) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

So what should the Cavaliers decision be? Well, they could use a healthy Rose – but there is no guarantee that is what they will get. Against Golden State last season, Rose dropped 28 points in a loss. In fact, despite Rose being 1-3 against the Warriors since 2014, he’s averaged 24 PPG. He can be a factor in a 7 game series against Golden State – if he’s healthy.

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Rose is also still taking visits with other teams like the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks. For those teams, Rose can serve more as a mentor and probably would play reduced minutes. However, a guaranteed appearance in the post season may entice Rose to accept whatever Cleveland offers.

Lebron and the current roster should still run the East. But he wants it all. And he knows what the Cavaliers are up against out West. LeBron could use all the help he can get. He’ll need it.

At the twilight of Rose’s career – meaning one more injury could signal the end – a Rose-Cavaliers marriage may be the best for both sides.

Stats referenced at nba.com

Follow me on Twitter @bmo54bmo54

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