The Cleveland Cavaliers may be struggling early this season, but Derrick Rose is still off to a good start with his new team. The point guard is averaging 16 points per game on the highest true shooting percentage of his career. In order to preserve and maintain his effectiveness and health, the Cavs have decided to keep him on a strict minutes restriction for the full season.
Via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
"Let me say, for one, I'm just happy to be a part of this team, part of something that I think is special," Rose, 29, told ESPN. "A minute restriction, there's nothing I can do about that. But with me having all these injuries in my past, I'm kind of used to it. But whatever the team sees and the staff sees and they want me to do, that's what I'm going to cooperate with and just go about it the right way."
Rose has already missed four games this season after rolling his ankle. While that was a freak injury, an increased workload and the fatigue that would come with it could increase the likelihood of such injuries.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to maintain the minute restriction once Isaiah Thomas returns, as Rose would be put in a reserve role. Prior to that, it could put the team in a rough situation if they go into overtime. With Jose Calderon out of the rotation and Iman Shumpert out with a knee injury, the team only has LeBron James and Rose to rely on for play-making.
That being said, Rose’s role with this team thus-far hasn’t involved much facilitating. His assist percentage of 10.5 percent is down from his previous career low of 22.8 percent last season. But he still gives the team reliable ball handling, something that is currently in short supply.
Hopefully by monitoring Rose’s minutes and limiting his role, he can continue to be a productive contributor to the team. The fact he has accepted the restriction, even though it may impact how other teams view him in free agency this summer, is commendable. It shows his growth and maturity, after clashing with the with the Bulls organization over how they handled his health in the past (warranted or not).