Derrick Rose, the winner of the 2011 MVP Award, has been characterized as selfish and unreliable–by the press and fans. His tenure with the New York Knicks did not do much to dissuade those notions, but there is every reason to believe that Rose will experience a different existence with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For starters, the Cavaliers are a good team. They’ve been to the Finals in three straight seasons on the back of LeBron James, one of the game’s all-time greats. Despite a tumultuous offseason in Cleveland, the Cavs still have the best personnel in the Eastern Conference.
Providing Rose, 28, is healthy, there is no reason why he can’t contribute to a winning product. He averaged 18 PPG in a chaotic Knicks’ environment, which featured team legends getting escorted out of Madison Square Garden in handcuffs to press conferences begging the team’s best player to waive his no-trade clause.
Rose skipped a game last season; there’s no denying that. But his behavior simply embodied that of his owner and team president. It’s not commendable, just the reality.
Playing with James should only fuel Rose, who accepted a league minimum $2 million contract to play in a winning environment. "When you're losing more than you're winning, it can get difficult,” said Rose’s brother Reggie in an interview with the AP. “So with him going to be in a winning environment again now, able to see how LeBron prepares himself, the things LeBron does with his body, Derrick can incorporate that into his own game."
In many cases, culture breeds success. The Knicks’ lack of culture led to ambivalence among many of the team’s star players, including Kristaps Porzingis. His infamous absence from an exit meeting with Phil Jackson led to trade rumors during the NBA Draft.
"On the court was when it was the craziest to me," Rose told the AP. "Some of the strategies and all that, I didn't understand. It was confusing. It was just a learning experience."
For one year, that chaos will disappear for Rose. The Cavaliers might find themselves in a different chaos following the 2017-18 season, since LeBron, Isaiah Thomas, and Rose are all playing out their contracts.
While LeBron is leading the Cavs, though, the team will be the Eastern favorite to return to the Finals. That alone should provide fans with a glimpse of a different Derrick Rose.