There’s a lot riding on Derrick Rose this season. With Kyrie Irving gone, and Isaiah Thomas still coming back from a hip injury, Rose has to man the point guard position, and do so well, for at least a few months. And not only does that including the team’s starting lineup, but bench units as well.
Coach Tyronn Lue has talked about Rose being able to drive and kick to the Cavs’ shooters, which likely will be a big part of his role. But, with Cleveland seemingly playing a little faster this year than they did in the past, Rose is going to have to make plays like this:
What Rose does here is a good sign for him with the regular season about to start. As he comes across halfcourt, there’s still four seconds left on the shot clock. Rose already has a full head of steam as the Cavs get into their offense. Channing Frye sets a simple screen and all Rose does is read the defense.
As Rose leans right toward the pick, Magic guard Elfrid Payton leans just slightly into the pick and Rose crosses back over before Payton can react. It helps, too that Nikola Vucevic — who was defending Frye and dropped back towards the paint — is too slow to recover. It wouldn’t be a shock if the Cavs run something similar on Monday against a certain ex-Cavs point guard with a penchant for bad pick and roll defense.
In the preseason, Rose has played about as well as the Cavs could hope. In five games, he shot 62.5 percent from the field on six attempts per name. He averaged 3.5 assists and less an a turnover per game. We’ll see how he looks in the regular season, if his body can hold up and how he looks in more minutes alongside LeBron James.
But Rose has been good for the Cavs so far. Plays like this are why.