Detroit Pistons missed an opportunity to sell high with Derrick Rose

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons sent former league MVP Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in exchange for 23-year old Dennis Smith Jr. along with a second-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

It was inevitable that the Detroit Pistons would move Derrick Rose, but the return leaves me a bit underwhelmed.  I understand the deal’s basis is the second-round pick, which originally belonged to Charlette, but adding Smith Jr. doesn’t do much for me today, but hopefully, this changes.

It’s ok to be underwhelmed.

A year ago, the Pistons apparently had offers for Rose with term left on his deal but foolishly opted to hold onto the rejuvenated point guard.  If you recall, there had been rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers were willing to move a first-round pick for Rose.

Don’t forget last season; the Pistons finally embraced the rebuild by trading Andre Drummond to Cleveland and granted both Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris their release.  The one trade chip they decided to hold onto had been Rose, who averaged a team-high 18.1 points per game in 2019-20.

All signs pointed to Rose being placed on the trade block, but did the Detroit Pistons get enough in return?

After scoring 18 points per game in back-to-back seasons, Rose rejuvenated his career.  No, he’s not and likely won’t ever be able to replicate his MVP season, but he’s gone from nearly vanishing from the league to a starting-caliber NBA point guard and still is just 32-years old.  Rose is averaging just over 14 points per game on an awful five-win Pistons team.  I expect that number once again to settle in around 18 by the season’s end.

Dennis Smith Jr. is another reclamation project, and chances are he will fail to show the same promise in Detroit as he once did as a rookie with Dallas averaging 15.2 points per game following being selected ninth overall the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Pistons were never going to get a top-20 pick and a young player similar to Smith Jr. for Rose, but they had a chance to land a top-30 choice last season but failed to sell high.  Instead, the Pistons settled for a pick that should end up around 40th overall.

Like Christian Wood and Josh Jackson, there is an outside chance Detroit strikes gold with Smith Jr. The young point guard is set to become a restricted free agent unless the Pistons pick up his $7.7 million qualifying offer for next season.

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One thing is for certain, Smith who struggled to find court time in New York, will have an opportunity to play a bunch in Detroit while rookie guard Killian Hayes continues to recover from a torn labrum in his right hip.