The former league MVP has come a long way. Just two years ago, many thought Derrick Rose’s career was over.
A shining career stalled by a series of injuries, there were clips of Rose in high school gyms practicing, trying to get it all back. Instead of being inspired, NBA fans laughed and joked.
Fast forward two years, and Rose is playing like an All-Star again. And Rose hasn’t been this good since his MVP season in 2011.
He was 22 then. He’s now 31 years old.
Quite literally, Rose is doing things he has not done in nearly a decade. The Chicago-born star has scored 20+ points in 10 consecutive games; tying his most consecutive games at that mark since ...
You guessed it!
His MVP season.
In the past 10 games, Rose is averaging 23.6 points on an absolutely absurd 59.2 true shooting percentage, 6.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game. The Detroit Pistons are 5-5 over this stretch; which may seem like nothing, but when you look at their overall record it’s obvious the difference Rose is making.
Even more telling is Rose’s impact since becoming a starter. The team is 3-1, and Rose is averaging 23.0 points on 61.7 true shooting percentage, 7.0 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in 29.9 minutes per game.
He is one of few bright spots on the Pistons roster this season. With Rose on the court, Detroit is literally a completely different team.
In the 1.020 minutes Rose has played, the Pistons have an offensive rating of 111.3. In the 1,150 minutes he’s off the court, the offensive rating is 104.8.
The 6.5 point differential is the highest on his team by more than 2.0 points. To put it another way, when Rose is on the floor Detroit plays like the eighth best offense in the NBA. When he is off, they play like the fifth-worst.
Outside of role players such as Svi Mykhaliuk, Christian Wood, and Sekou Doumbouya who haven’t played nearly as many minutes, Rose has the highest net rating differential at 5.2.
Detroit has suffered extended injuries to Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard this season. Jackson and Griffin either haven’t played or have been awful in the times they attempted to play while battling injuries this season.
When looking at the Pistons roster minus those three players, this team should be a bottom of the league offense. The only shot-creator left is Rose. The next best is Andre Drummond, maybe?
Somehow, though, this offense is far from the bottom.
The Pistons are currently ranked 16th in the NBA in offensive rating with a rating of 109.7.
It’s not a stretch at all, and more so the reality, that one of the only reasons the Pistons are not a dumpster fire on offense is because of how insanely good Rose has been.
In only 26.2 minutes per game on the season, Rose is putting up 18.5 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game; on what could be his most efficient season of his NBA career.
Rose is enjoying career-highs in field goal percentage (49.7), efficiency field goal percentage (52.8), two-point field goal percentage (54.3), and true shooting percentage (56.4).
All the while staying relatively healthy, playing in 39 of the Pistons 45 games thus far.
After having a bounce back season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, many of Rose’s doubters expected him to fall back to earth. Many lists coming into the season didn’t even have Rose as a top 100 player.
Not only has Rose not fallen off from last year, he’s somehow gotten even better. It’s shocking how a player who looked like he could be finished at the age of 29 can bounce back to THIS kind of level at age 31.
Despite getting older, Rose is still one of the very best in the league at getting to the rim and finishing. There’s not many players in the entire league who can do it like Rose can.
For everyone who witnessed Rose at his MVP peak, which was so long ago it’s crazy to think many never witnessed it, you know how insanely explosive he was.
While he may not have that level explosion at the rim anymore, he’s actually an even better finisher at the rim than he was in 2011.
In Rose’s 2010-11 season, 29.4% of his attempts came within 3 feet of the rim. Rose shot 61.1% on these attempts.
This season, nine years removed from his MVP season, he’s getting to this area even more, with 30.4% of his attempts coming within 3 feet. On more attempts this season, Rose is shooting a career-high 68.7% on these attempts.
You know which guards shoot as well as Rose in the restricted area with at least five attempts per game? Luka Doncic, Devin Booker, De’Aron Fox, Ben Simmons.
That’s it. That’s the list.
Rose is having such an absurd season for the Pistons when you take into account he’s doing all this in only 26 minutes per game. It makes you wonder what his traditional box-score stats would look like if he played as much as the other premier point guards in the NBA.
Well lets take a shot at doing that by looking at his per-36 and per-100 possessions numbers.
Per 36, Rose is averaging 25.4 points and 8.2 assists. Those are career-high per 36 numbers. Yes, even better than his MVP season where he averaged 24.1 and 7.4 assists per 36.
Per 100 possessions, Rose is averaging 34.3 points and 11.0 assists per game.
Now, obviously these stats are far from perfect, but they do a reasonable job to depict just how good Rose has been in limited minutes.
Combine this with his numbers the last four games as a starter with increased minutes, there’s no doubt Rose would likely be putting up some eye-popping counting stats if he had played those minutes all season.
In this 10-game stretch of 20-plus points for Rose, he’s averaging 30.8 minutes per game, four minutes more than his season average.
Rose is on a bad team, and that certainly hurts his All-Star hopes. But, last time I checked, All-Star selections are based on individual performance— not team success.
Not to mention all the advanced stats and metrics that have been mentioned in this article point to Detroit being a much better team with him on the floor.
Like, there’s seriously no reason this team should be in the middle of the pack in offensive rating. Yes, the team has quality 3-point shooters. But someone needs to be there to find them open looks. Rose has been the only legit shot-creator on this team all season.
Will Rose actually be an All-Star in his hometown? Probably not.
There are many players at what would be considered his position (guards) playing at a high level, such as: Malcom Brogdon, Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Simmons, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jaylen Brown, and Bradley Beal. All except Beal have teams solidly in the playoff chase.
Rose’s counting stats won’t be on the same level as players like Beal, and he’s not playing for a winning team like Brogdon, Butler, Simmons, Lowry, and Walker. It’ll be hard to see Rose getting into the all-star game over these said players because of this.
But, make no mistake about it; Rose is certainly playing at an All-Star level this season.
You can certainly be playing at an All-Star level, but not be selected as an All-Star in a specific season. There can be a ton of candidates at your position and you can end up just buried at a deep position.
This is likely where Rose will find himself.
Somewhat surprised the media voted Andre Drummond higher than both fans and players pic.twitter.com/no69xxKU5D— Duncan Smith (@DuncanSmithNBA) January 24, 2020
For what it’s worth, Rose was voted sixth and seventh by media and players, respectively, when the starters for the All-Star game were announced.
His head coach has been pleading his case for him.
““I’m going to tell everybody,” Dwane Casey said, “(Rose) should be an All-Star.”
Despite what happens with the All-Star selections, Rose has been nothing short of great for the Detroit Pistons.
Fans of the NBA and those who were old enough to witness Rose at his peak should be happy to see him making a late career comeback, forget being an all-star.
It’s great to see the Rose blossoming again.