While not quite returning to his old pre-knee injuries MVP self, Rose exceeded expectations in 2018-19. He averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 37.0 percent from three-point range.
The highlight of Rose's season came in Minnesota's 128-125 victory over the Utah Jazz on Oct. 31. He had the first 50-point game of his career and scored six of the Timberwolves' final seven points in the final minute.
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His year ended in March when he underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow.
Although Rose clearly found a comfort zone in Minnesota, his decision to leave the Timberwolves doesn't come as much of a surprise.
He turns 31 in October, so his value as a free agent will probably never be higher than it is now. As much as Rose might have wanted a return to Minneapolis, he couldn't give the Wolves much of a hometown discount while counting on future earnings to make up the difference.
Tom Thibodeau was fired as Minnesota's head coach in January, as well, taking away a figure with whom Rose enjoyed a strong relationship.
As much as Rose contributed to the team, losing Rose may not be a huge blow for the Timberwolves.
Jeff Teague will presumably remain the starting point guard in 2019-20. Teague opted in to the final year of his deal, which will count for $19 million against the salary cap. In Tyus Jones, Minnesota has a more than capable backup, too.
Even after taking Rose out of the equation, the team's backcourt is in good shape.
That's to say nothing of the general risk associated with Rose going forward. The Pistons are signing him at the peak of this portion of his career—accounting for injuries and aging—with slowly diminishing returns to follow.
He set career highs in effective field-goal percentage (.518) and true shooting percentage (.557) in 2018-19, per Basketball Reference. It's fair to wonder whether his improved shooting is a one-year blip. Take out the month of November—he shot 27-of-48 from beyond the arc—and the three-time All-Star was only a 27.6 percent three-point shooter.
Should Rose's offensive efficiency regress to the mean next season, his poor defense will become even more glaring. Out of 111 point guards, he was 104th in defensive real plus-minus (minus-2.53), per ESPN.com.
Perhaps the rebound Rose enjoyed will carry over to his first year with the Pistons. Detroit should still be prepared for a scenario in which he struggles to repeat the success he enjoyed in 2018-19.
With Reggie Jackson as the incumbent starting point guard, Rose seems likely to come off the bench in the Motor City. His ability to create his own shot will be a clear asset for the Pistons, especially if he's playing with the second unit.