A Breakdown of the Derrick Rose Trade

The New York Knicks acquired Derrick Rose from the Detroit Pistons for Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second-round pick via the Charlotte Hornets. Derrick Rose is reunited with coach Tom Thibodeau for the third time in his career and reuniting with the New York Knicks for the second time in his career too. Who won this trade? Why did the Derrick Rose trade happen?

Let’s break it down for each team.

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are getting back their old friend from the 2016-2017 season, Derrick Rose. Back in that season, Rose played 32.5 minutes per game and started in 64 games.

Rose averaged 18 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game that season. He also shot 47% from the field off of over 15 field goal attempts per game.

The former MVP shot the lowest amount of three-pointers he ever has in a season since his first two years with the Chicago Bulls and shot 21.7% from three in that year with the Knicks.

Rose has played a better role off the bench in his most recent years. In the last two seasons of his career, he has only started 28 of 101 games between the Detroit Pistons and the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the 15 games he has played off the bench for the Pistons this season, Derrick Rose has averaged 14.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.

So what are the Knicks getting? A solid point guard off the bench that can score the basketball at an efficient rate in their second rotation. The Knicks will not be getting defense (-1.2 career defensive box plus/minus), but they will be getting a veteran that can offer assistance off the bench. For the price of a second-rounder and a G-league player, that’s worth it.

Against the Miami Heat in his first game on Tuesday night, Rose put up 14 points, one rebound, and three assists in 20 minutes of play off the bench. He shot 5/9 from the field and 2/3 from distance, scoring the most off the bench for the Knicks.

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are getting the young Dennis Smith Jr. and added draft capital for the upcoming NBA draft.

The Detroit Pistons are stocking up a bit on draft capital. In total, they will have their own first-round selection (which could go to the Houston Rockets if it falls between 16-30, but that’s highly unlikely), the Charlotte Hornets second-round pick (via NYK), and the second-round pick of the Brooklyn Nets (via TOR).

The Pistons are also receiving Dennis Smith Jr., 23, from the New York Knicks.

Dennis Smith Jr. has had a tough career in the NBA so far. The former ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft out of N.C State has not been all that productive in his NBA career.

Smith started his career with a starting position for the Dallas Mavericks, where he averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game in nearly 30 minutes per game. However, he shot 39.5% from the field, 31.3% from behind the arc, and 69.4% from the charity stripe – not a good start for the rookie.

Late into his second year, the Mavericks traded him as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade to the New York Knicks. There, he barely improved his shooting, if not worsened it. Last season, in 34 games Smith shot 34.1% from the field, 29.6% from three, and 50.9% from the free-throw line. Smith shoots <30% for his career anywhere from 3-16 feet, and shoots under 60% around the rim.

What does he bring to the Pistons? Potential, and some defense. Smith has well more defensive win shares than he does offensive (-5.0 vs. 3.4 for his career) plus he nearly has a positive defensive box plus/minus. Smith is also just 23 years old and has already offered the Pistons to play in the G-league to develop his game during the Pistons’ immediate rebuild.

While Dennis Smith Jr. has minimal potential to revamp his game and become a viable NBA player again, this trade was not worth it for the Pistons. While it made sense to give up the 32-year old Rose to get value for a rebuild this offseason, they did not get back enough value.

Dennis Smith Jr. is not an NBA player at the moment and has taken more steps backward than he has forwards in his career. Smith, with a lousy second-round pick, will not do the job for a solid role player like Rose. Unless Smith becomes the elite slasher and facilitator that scouts thought he would be in the NBA, they just wasted an opportunity to stock up ammunition for their rebuild.

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