Philadelphia 76ers: The case against Derrick Rose

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Why the Philadelphia 76ers should avoid the former MVP.

The Philadelphia 76ers are a flawed team, and with the 2020 NBA trade deadline fast approaching, many fans have been searching for players that can turn the Sixers from championship pretenders to actual contenders.

Many have fixated on Detroit Pistons point guard Derrick Rose, who is one of the NBA’s best sixth men. Currently, Rose is averaging close to 17 points and six assists in over 24 minutes per game for a struggling Pistons squad. Even though it’s likely that Rose is traded by the Feb. 6 deadline, the Sixers should not pursue the former MVP.

This sentiment is no knock on Rose’s talents nor of the possibility of him improving the Sixers’ bench. Rather, a trade for Rose would likely strip the Sixers of their less-than-stellar draft capital and cheap, controllable talent, and turn Rose into somewhat of a false prophet.

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Firstly, the Sixers do not have a plethora of trade assets. Aside from the team’s future draft picks (of which there are few), most of the picks they have acquired via trade are in the second round, which is likely not enough to force the Pistons’ hand.

Aside from undesirable picks, the players with the highest chance to be moved — Mike Scott, Jonah Bolden, and Zhaire Smith — are not high value. A combination of unappealing players and picks is likely not enough for the Pistons to trade Rose to the Sixers. Another team would have to be included in the trade so that a Rose trade would be worth the Pistons’ while.

Secondly, Rose would not fit in Brett Brown’s system. The Sixers are a team that prioritizes passes and assists and currently sits in the top-five of each category. They also rank near last in both drives and pick-and-rolls per game. Rose, however, thrives on isolations and drives, which would make his fit in Philadelphia a poor one. He ranks in the upper echelon of drives per game and pick and roll ball-handler frequency. Over 80 percent of his two-point field goals are unassisted, too.

No reserve shot creators fit into the Sixers’ offensive scheme, just ask Trey Burke. Burke, who projected to be that shot creator off of the bench, has seen his drives per game decreased by almost half since last season. He has dropped from about the 90th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball handler in 2018-19 to the 48.5th percentile this season.

Also, Rose currently holds a 112.3 defensive rating, which would rank near last on the Sixers, and he is only shooting 32 percent from three. Meanwhile, Burke boasts a 100.6 defensive rating and is shooting 46 percent from downtown, albeit with half the attempts of Rose.

Nonetheless, if the choice were between Burke and Rose, Burke would be the easy choice, as he holds a lower defensive rating and shoots better from three. He also would cost much less than Rose, who is owed over $7 million for this season and next, while Burke’s contract isn’t yet guaranteed.

Although Burke is nowhere near the player Rose is, he still fits better in Philadelphia largely because he is a low-profile player with whom the team does not have an outstanding contractual obligation. Burke has been shoved into a role that does not suit him perfectly, yet he does not have the power to change it due to his role-player status. Should a player of Rose’s caliber fill that same role, it could hurt the locker room more so than Burke’s father may have already.

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Derrick Rose is an excellent player, but his fit with the Sixers would be a sloppy one at best. That which makes him a great scorer — namely isolations, drives, and pick and rolls — are not featured in Philadelphia’s offense like they are in Detroit. Should the Sixers trade for him, Rose would enter into an offensive system that does not complement his strengths, and the fit could leave the Sixers worse off than if they stuck with who they currently have (Burke).