Derrick Rose deserves credit for reviving his career after multiple devastating injuries, reinventing himself as a scoring guard; unfortunately for the Cavaliers, that growth occurred after his brief and disastrous stint with Cleveland.
Rose, now 35 years old, signed with the Memphis Grizzlies this summer to provide veteran mentorship to Ja Morant and play the role of backup point guard while Morant was suspended to start the season. Rose’s progress in the former is yet to be realized, but his part in the latter has not gone according to plan.
Playing in only four of eight games due to injury, Rose is shooting only 32.4 percent from the field. He is hitting half of his 3-pointers, but a truly frigid 25.9 percent mark from 2-point range both illustrates his fading athleticism and speaks to the Grizzlies’ difficulty putting effective lineups on the court. The Grizzlies are 11.1 points per 100 possessions worse when Rose takes the court with their offense cratering.
It was a painful goodbye when Kevin Love and the Cavaliers agreed to a contract buyout last spring, and it was bittersweet watching him play on an NBA Finals team. This season the pain is less fresh, but Love is perhaps feeling homesick as he and the Miami Heat struggle to start the season.
Starting at power forward, Love has been a terrible finisher inside, shooting 28.6 percent from 2-point range and missing every 2-point jumper he has taken. Love’s best attribute at this point of his career is his shooting and spacing on offense, but he has to be able to punish smaller players who try to defend him. His defense is also predictably struggling and he doesn’t have the agility or overall ability to execute the complex defensive schemes the Heat cycle through.
Kevin Love headlines a group of former Cavaliers off to rocky starts to begin the 2023-24 season. Each should have some reason for optimism, but many also may just be living in their new reality.