Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin each left the Detroit Pistons during the season to go to a team they could help in the playoffs. So, after the first playoff game for each, how did they do?
Griffin had been an All-NBA performer two years earlier for the Pistons, before injuries had forced him to play a limited amount games,. But he was now declared healthy.
Rose was a former MVP who had provided a spark to the Pistons off the bench since arriving in 2019. Rose did not start only because coach Dwane Casey wanted to preserve him for the season, as Rose arrived after suffering a multitude of injuries.
Both Rose and Griffin were former No. 1 overall draft picks and known to basketball fans around the country.
Publicly, they accepted being part of the the Pistons ‘retooling’ and looked forwarded to mentoring the many young players on Detroit’s roster. Rose took special interest in rookie point guard Killian Hayes, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft.
Privately, things apparently began to change as the Pistons record got worse and worse.
(Note: If you watched the early season Pistons games, a lot of those losses came due to poor play by Griffin and/or Rose down the stretch. They were both rusty, and looked it).
As far as it is known, both Rose and Griffin did indeed help the younger players adjust to being in the NBA.
However, they did not want to spend the whole season dispensing advice to 19-year-olds while the losses piled up. Rose’s contract was up at the end of the season while Griffin had one more year after this on his massive max contract deal.
Neither was going to be around when the Pistons, at some point, became contenders again, so it was time to bail. Detroit management was as accommodating as they could be. No one wanted any public feud.
The first shoe to drop was on February 8, with Rose being traded to the New York Knicks for Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick. The Knicks were coached by Tom Thibodeau, who was Rose’s coach during his MVP season in Chicago.
New York, after years of wallowing at the bottom of the standings, was making a playoff push, and hoped Rose would help them.
The next move was with Griffin. It was soon after the Rose trade was consummated that the announcement came that Griffin would no longer play for Detroit, while both sides sought a solution to find him a new home.
With his huge salary ($70 million owed over two years), no team would trade for Griffin. He was finally bought out on March 5, and by March 8 it was announced he had signed for the rest of the season with the Brooklyn Nets.
You could say the loss of Ross and Griffin severely hurt the Pistons, but it was not like they were doing all that well with them. Detroit was 5-18 when Rose was traded, and had a 10-25 record the day Griffin was released.
Griffin and Rose went to seek greener pastures (well, actually Griffin lost $13 million in greenbacks in the buyout, but you know what we mean).
They both now had a chance to experience the playoffs, something they never would have had, this season, with Detroit.
So how did they do in their initial playoff game’s for their new teams?
Let’s take a look: