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Derrick Rose Player Preview: From MVP to mentor, Rose is here to help a roster of rookies

Still an instant source of offense, the 13-year veteran has a new role with these Pistons

Derrick Rose / Christopher Daniels, Detroit Bad Boys

The Detroit Pistons signed Derrick Rose to a two-year contract with hopes that he would help elevate the Pistons to higher than an eighth seed finish in the 2019-20 season. The Pistons ended up blowing things up halfway through the season and now Rose enters this year with a different role on the team.

Yes, he’ll still be expected to provide instant offense and be one of the best sixth men in the league. However, with the arrival of Killian Hayes and the Pistons heading into a rebuild (Troy Weaver would rather call it a restoring) with almost a completely different roster, Rose will be looked at as a mentor for these Pistons.

2019-2020 averages: 18.1 points, 5.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 49.0 FG%, 30.6 3PT%, 87.1 FT%

Rose will be coming off the bench again this season as the Pistons sixth man—Dwane Casey already said that Hayes will be the Pistons starting point guard and that has held true through three preseason games.

This should be no problem for Rose, as he’s proven that he’s at a point in his career where killing teams off the bench is where he’ll be best used for an entirety of a season.

The goal for Rose this season is rather simple and easily attainable. The Pistons will likely look to move him around the deadline so just perform at a high level similar to last year to get yourself on a contending team.

Rose will remain on a minutes restriction, but averaging at least 15 points and 5 assists off the bench should be viewed as an easy goal for Rose and the Pistons. Obviously, as is the case with Rose every season, his main goal is to remain healthy.

Last year before the season got postponed due to the pandemic, Rose played in 50 of the Pistons' 66 games. He remained relatively healthy throughout the season with some minor injuries and scheduled games off. Expect much of the same this year with Rose, as the Pistons will do everything possible to make sure his value is as high as possible around the trade deadline.

Offensive Role

Rose will be expected to be one of the best sixth men in the NBA. Last season, Rose had a usage rate of 31.7%— his highest usage rate since his 2014-15 season with the Chicago Bulls. With the drafting of Hayes, the signing of Jerami Grant, and the hope of Blake Griffin remaining healthy this season, you’d expect that rate to go down.

Nonetheless, Rose’s role on this team offensively will be to provide instant offense when he checks into the game. He only played 26 minutes per game last year, but that was enough time to put up 18.1 points per game.

To get a bit deeper into Rose’s offensive role, Rose will be asked to help bring some of the Pistons young guys along. With him coming off the bench, it’s incredibly likely he’ll be sharing the floor with players like Sekou Doumbouya, Saddiq Bey, and Josh Jackson— all of these players will need help creating some offense on the court.

Rose will make life easier on these guys simply by his ability to take the playmaking and scoring pressure off of them. Rose is one of the best isolation players in the NBA (88th percentile last season, according to Synergy), and his ability to break down defenses is second to none. Not only will Rose be expected to carry the offense, but he’ll be expected to get them easy buckets with the amount of attention that’ll be drawn to him.

That is something we’ve already seen in the preseason. Here, Rose is such a threat off the double screen that New York goes to double him. This leaves Doumbouya wide open at the top of the key. Rose finds him and Doumbouya gets one of the best looks he’s going to get from outside.

Rose is quite an underrated playmaker, but it should be on full display for the Pitons this season. Expect to see another strong year from d-Rose on the offensive end of the floor.

Defensive Role

Now, there’s not much to say here. Rose doesn’t make his money by being some exceptional defender. He gets stuck on screens (large part due to his previous injuries), gets caught ball watching when off-ball, and while he’s an okay on-ball defender he’s not that great either.

The biggest value Rose will bring to the Pistons' defense is being vocal on that end with the Pistons' young players and getting on them when they mess up. While Rose won’t make the biggest impact himself on that side of the ball, he’s still an extremely smart player. He’ll be able to tell players where to be, help instruct players what to do and how to do it on the defensive side of the ball.

Again, not much is expected of Rose himself on this end. However, his leadership and voice should play a part in his young teammates in defensive play.


It’s been said many times already, but as far as it matters for the Pistons, D-Rose’s biggest value to the franchise will be his mentorship and leadership to the young players—specifically Hayes. The Pistons drafted Hayes with the seventh overall pick in this year's draft, and he’s already received high expectations for what he’ll be for Detroit.

Many people seem to gloss over the importance of having veterans and leadership for rookies, but it’s extremely important. In all honesty, who would be a better mentor for Hayes than a point guard who won MVP in his third season, fell from grace and hit rock bottom, and worked his way back into being one of the best players at his sport?

Hayes will not only be able to watch and learn from Rose by watching him on the court but with everything Rose has gone through in his 12-year career, there won’t be a single thing Hayes won't be able to pick Rose’s brain about.

For what it’s worth, Rose has not only been self-aware about that being his role on this team but seems completely comfortable and outgoing in helping Hayes become the best player he can be.

Rose may not finish the season on the Pistons’, but his impact could be felt by Pistons fans for the next 10+ years if Hayes blossoms into their point guard of the future.