Well this was a bit of news that was unexpected, wasn’t it?
According to reports, free agent point guard Derrick Rose is in serious talks to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a one-year contract for the veteran minimum. If a deal goes through, it’s projected to run the organization’s continuously growing luxury tax an extra $11.6 million dollars, to increase to $83.4 million total.
In typical social media fashion, the scoop drew a mixed, loud reaction around the basketball world. How on earth would Rose fit with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving?
It’s a fair question considering the 28-year-old’s struggles with his jumper. In 64 games with the New York Knicks last year, Rose took just 55 total attempts in a catch-and-shoot situation and made only 13 of them. That equates to a shoddy 23.6 percent.
Furthermore, because of how the Cavaliers operate with their plethora of perimeter shots, it’s concerning that Rose made only 20.5 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes. Looking at the numbers, it’d be a safe bet to think that Tyronn Lue will know better than to camp him out on the arc.
The popular narrative of Rose being injury prone is a real thing, but isn’t as detrimental as people make it out to be. In the last two years, he’s played in 130 games and averaged over 31 minutes per contest. The athleticism isn’t anywhere near where it was four or five years ago, however.
Still, Rose is plenty effective on the floor when he gets the opportunities. The former MVP is at his best when he is aggressive and attacks the basket. Nearly half of his field goal attempts came from the restricted area, where he succeeded 54.7 percent of the time. He also knocked down a career-best 87.4 percent of his free throws.
Rose’s effective field goal percentage (47.7) was the highest it has been since suffering his first ACL injury in Chicago. Continuously gaining more confidence to go full speed and worry less about those knees, he’s slowly but surely getting back to form.
If this deal gets completed, Rose is reportedly expected to join Irving in the backcourt as a starter. The dynamic is a perplexing one considering the ball-dominant skills both have, but it draws a tiny similarity to what the Houston Rockets have put together with Chris Paul and James Harden.
Of course, this potential guard combination in Cleveland doesn’t have quite the defense or shooting threat of that duo, but it does offer flexibility.
To this eye, Rose should come off the bench to spell Irving. Have him bring up the ball and become a primary scoring threat with the second unit. Lue can still play around with the rotation and slot him next to Irving if he so desires in certain situations, but this would be the scenario that would allow him to thrive.
The mixed reviews of Rose’s fit with the Cavaliers are warranted, but there are two sides to the argument here. Dan Gilbert has very little money to spend because of that heavily expensive luxury tax bill, which makes it difficult to make an impact.
Gilbert and company will need to hope for the best on their end, though, as the Los Angeles Lakers met with Rose on Thursday. Earlier this week, Jason Kidd made it clear that the Milwaukee Bucks have interest in him as well.
Whoever Cleveland signs to a veteran minimum, it will cost them the same amount of money to do it. So if Gilbert can land a former MVP who still has plenty left in the tank and also happens to be the best free agent guard left on the market, why not take a flier?
Between an over-the-hill Deron Williams, an inexperienced rookie in Kay Felder and attempts to have Iman Shumpert bring the ball up, the Cavaliers’ backup point guard situation was a wreck last season.
Adding Rose would be an immediate upgrade and should be treated as such.
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