We’ve reached the point in free agency where all the top dogs have inked contracts large enough to rent out the Sun as a personal microwave and are now left with the second tier of players. Most of the remaining free agents are journeymen searching for another shot- and almost all of them have some form of baggage- but there are still gems left on the market. There’s one gem in particular that has been losing its luster in the eyes of many the past several years, but could dazzle in the City of Brotherly Love- Derrick Rose.
The voice of public opinion cries out: “He’s always hurt! Sixers have enough injury-prone players on the roster! We have Fultz, who needs Rose?! Did we mention he he’s always hurt??”
I know the risks and baggage that Derrick Rose possesses, but just hear me out.
Yes, Rose has had an extremely unfortunate and lengthy bout with injuries. Yes, the Sixers have a couple players on the roster with major injury histories. Yes, Philly has their point guard of their future in Markelle Fultz…(or Ben Simmons) And yes, for those still typing their comment, Rose has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career.
One thing that the seemingly endless amount of injuries hasn’t been able to take from Rose; however, is his ability to score at will. The former #1 overall pick has a career average of 19.5 points per game on 47% shooting from the field to this point. These are incredible numbers that would easily land him a max contract if not for his injury history.
The voice of public opinion cries out again: He started off hot but has been washed for years! Those numbers are skewed!!
Actually, voice of public opinion, Rose has been consistently productive throughout his career and turned in another excellent season for the dreadful Knicks last year. The Chicago native averaged 18 points on 48% shooting in his first season with the team. The triangle offense that Phil Jackson was trying to implement didn’t suit Rose’s strengths at all, but the explosive point guard still managed to produce at a high level. The former MVP may not be soaring through the air posterizing opponents anymore, but he’s still got game.
As for the injury crowd, Rose hasn’t been unavailable as much as you may think. The acrobatic point guard managed to start in 64 games this past season- his second straight season starting 60+ games- which is outstanding for someone with such an extensive injury history. Since suffering his second season ending injury in the fall of 2013, Rose has started an average of 60 games a season- roughly 75% of the season.If the Sixers are serious about making a playoff push this season, 60 games of the former MVP are a lot more beneficial than 82 games of TJ McConnell. Rose will always wonder when the injury bug may bite again, but the despised bug is without prejudice, so the chances of him suffering a major injury aren’t all that different from any other player in the league.
The uproar of public opinion rises once again: Not saying we want him, but where would we even put Rose? Fultz is entrenched as our starter.
Rose may be best suited to come off the bench as a rotational player for the first time in his career. Being a role player would be a lot less physically taxing on his body, which could lead to an increase in games played. I think the Sixers bench suits him best because of the floor spacing he’d have with the second unit. Partnering Rose’s slashing ability with the shooting of Stauskas, Saric, and Richaun Holmes would be absolutely deadly and could form one of the most dynamic second units in the entire league.
Perhaps the best part of this hypothetical signing, is that Rose shouldn’t be very expensive and the Sixers have a ton of cap room. There hasn’t been a lot of interest in Rose as of this writing, so Philly wouldn’t find themselves in a bidding war for his services. I think a 1 yr, $8M deal with Rose would solidify the Sixers’ bench and assure a playoff berth in the anemic Eastern Conference.
I’m not saying the Sixers need Derrick Rose to make the playoffs, nor am I suggesting they shell out whatever contract it takes to land him. I’m simply highlighting that his market has dried up, and Philly could acquire a star talent for cheap. Rose would bring a wealth of playoff experience to the team and could also be a mentor to Fultz. I’m not sure if the Sixers are satisfied with the group they have now heading into the season, but they should definitely keep an eye on Rose as his market value decreases with each passing day.
Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports