Detroit Pistons: Derrick Rose is starting to find his stride in 2021

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Former league MVP Derrick Rose returned to form in Saturday’s Detroit Pistons shellacking of the Miami Heat.  Rose paced the Pistons to a stellar 120-100 road victory scoring 23 points with four assists and get this, four steals.

Rose wasn’t just productive; he proved to be a dynamic force coming off the bench for the Detroit Pistons, a role he’s clearly embraced since joining the organization.  It wasn’t just an impressive performance, but it was somewhat unexpected after missing the previous two games.

Any fan of the Detroit Pistons understand what Rose is capable of; he provided the franchise with 18.1 points per game just a year ago.  Like many players, it seemed to take the former MVP a bit to shake the rust off during this COVID-19 shortened season.

For the Pistons in general, it’s more of the roster overhaul we can point the finger to if we felt anyone hadn’t been performing up to par early on.  We can’t be so quick to write a player off, but Rose hasn’t quite been able to emulate last season’s play until now.  Rose, often lethal from the mid-range and fearless attacking the rim, often converting, had missed his patented pull-up jumper and often not getting a favorable roll at the rim.  Well, it appears the rust is off.

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It goes without saying, General Manager Troy Weaver, quickly after accepting the role, decided to basically blow the roster up, somehow making star forward Blake Griffin the longest-tenured Piston player on the roster.  After making a huge change like this, it’s not out of the ordinary to see players get off to a slow start learning each other’s tendencies, strengthens, and weaknesses.

There is plenty to be excited about surrounding this Detroit Pistons team, and Derrick Rose returning to form is certainly something relevant.

Sure this isn’t a playoff team, but it’s fun to watch rookies Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart go to work every day and grow as professionals.  Jerami Grant is playing lights out and far better than many could have imagined he would.

After losing rookie Killian Hayes to injury, all signs pointed to Derrick Rose stepping back into the starting role.  It’s exactly what happened last season after Reggie Jackson succumbed to injuries after using various options at the starting point head coach Dwane Casey turned to Rose.

Earlier in the season, Casey mentioned he’s reluctant to use Rose as a starter for the time being as he’s made a stern effort to manage the veteran’s minutes.  Playing with the second-group has allowed Casey to use Rose 30.1 percent of the time; last season Detroit ran plays for Rose 31.6 percent of the time.  His number is being called more with Detroit than it has since 2014-15 with the Chicago Bulls.

Casey explained it’s far easier to manage Rose’s workload pacing the second-group than being a starter.  At times in a competitive game, a starter will be counted on early and then expected to play the entire time down the stretch as the teams’ exchange possessions heading towards the finish line.

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Rose has been used as a closer, but Casey’s done a fine job preserving his body early in ball games.  So far in 2020-21, Rose is averaging nearly 15 points per game, 5.2 assists,1.9 boards.  Rose is only shooting 43% from the field but 34.6% from three while producing an above-average 18.8 player efficiency rating.