If you told me after the 2010-11 NBA season that Derrick Rose and LeBron James, two former NBA MVP award winners, would be joining forces on the same team, I would have been filled with anticipation. Now, I’m lukewarm.
According to Shams Charania of the Vertical, Derrick Rose and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to a one year, $2.1 million deal that will add Rose to the already stacked Cleveland roster. This deal comes almost two years after Rose infamously discussed his eagerness for a big time payday. For now, he will have to settle for the veteran’s minimum and a great chance at his first NBA Finals appearance, not the worst of consolation prizes.
Rose, who will turn 29 years old before the start of the 2017-18 season, averaged 18.0 PPG, 4.4 AST, and 3.8 RPG on 47% FG shooting for the New York Knicks last season, his best statistical output since 2012. Still, he struggled to win games with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the Big Apple. He struggled defensively, stumbled to an awful 22% three-point percentage, and even performed one of the greatest disappearing acts since Harry Houdini graced the Earth by being a complete no-show to a game against the New Orleans Pelicans in January.
Moreover, Rose, yet again, failed to play a full season, as he logged 64 out of a possible 82 games. His health continues to be an issue and his knees continue to wither away like decomposing roadkill on a summer day. And yet, I’m supposed to be excited for his arrival to Cleveland. Sorry, I’m not.
Derrick Rose will do okay in Cleveland. Assuming Kyrie Irving stays in the Land, Rose will be a decent scoring sixth man off the bench. However, if the Cavs trade Irving, Rose could be forced into the starting lineup in which he will overstep his bounds by shooting way more than he should, in a last ditch effort to get the pay day he feels he deserves and reclaim his former glory.
The only concern the Cleveland Cavaliers should have is beating the Golden State Warriors next June. Rose doesn’t get them to that goal. His basketball IQ is too low to compete with Golden State. While his matchup Stephen Curry or Shaun Livingston is making the extra pass and playing team defense, Rose will be driving to the hoop with tunnel vision or completely taking himself out of the play as he defers to LeBron and/or Kyrie, incapable of making an open three on the corner or wing.
Perhaps the tutelage of LeBron James will transform Derrick Rose into a modern day point guard that can compete with Golden State, but it’s unlikely. Rose has not been very receptive to criticism in his NBA career thus far, and I doubt even the great LeBron James can change that.
The signing of Derrick Rose changes almost nothing. Kyrie Irving will still likely be traded before next season, Rose will continue to play his antiquated play style, and the Cavs will still lose to the Warriors in the NBA Finals if they make it there. One thing has changed, though: there is now another former MVP in the Cleveland Exodus of Summer 2018, but his value pales in comparison to the other.