Derrick Rose signed a contract early last week with the team. Will this be his last stop in the NBA?
The former Chicago Bulls native and MVP winner, Derrick Rose, signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8.
The signing was on the heels of the Jimmy Butler injury two weeks before, and followed the release of Rose from the Utah Jazz almost immediately after the team received him and draft picks in the three-team trade with both the Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.
While the signing did seem reactionary to the Butler injury, it was far from a surprise that the former Bulls coach (Tom Thibodeau) would add his former star point guard.
Setting aside that he’s bounced around two teams over the past two seasons and that fact that he disappeared from team activities on both those teams, there are still some obstacles to Rose’s success.
The most glaring problem is Tyus Jones is still on the team and better than Rose. The Chicago native joins a crowded group at the point guard position on the Timberwolves, with Jeff Teague grabbing the bulk of the minutes. Classic to a Thibodeau team, Jones has seen a distinct lack of minutes, despite his solid play off the bench.
Jones ranks sixth in the NBA with a 3.96 assist/turnover ratio (stat is players that average at least 15 minutes per game). Jones has brushed off the low minute count of 17.9 per game, managing to shoot 46 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free throw line.
Even more tantalizing than Jones receiving more floor time, is the idea of the defensive specialist taking the court with the offensive-minded Teague. It is a duo that has only shared the hardwood for a grand total of 8 minutes.
Not only is it disturbing that Rose has already played more time with Jones (17 minutes) than Teague, but the hope of more Teague/Jones basketball also grows slimmer. This also has Rose eating into the already sparse minute situation on the Minnesota pine.
Not only does this clutter the point guard position, it also has been hard to find an upside for the situation. The gap in the talent on the Timberwolves roster is their 3-point shooting, an area Rose is shooting 19.7 percent from this season. A pretty grim signing from the makes of it.
It would be a foul way to go about covering the events of such an exciting young team by leaving the reader with the idea that this is a dead-end signing. It might be, but because success in sports involves environment just as much as anything else, there could be an out.
Rose has always been a very aggressive, ball-centric point guard. The offense runs through him and he likes to push the tempo of the game by transition buckets and slashing to the basket. This seems not only trapped in the very distant past but also an unobtainable goal when so many other players need the offense run through them on the Timberwolves. Since ACL surgeries are not conducive to bouncing back as a supreme NBA athlete and the Timberwolves do not have a spot for another ball needy player, the best case scenario is Rose takes a cue from Ray Allen and works on his outside shooting.
If Rose’s knees can hold up he can cut to the basket to create space for teammates like Karl-Anthony Towns or become an option for a Teague feed. He can also contribute by working on spot-up shooting from the corner to become an open man for the swing pass and three.
His peak in a Minnesota jersey will involve a lot of off-ball movement and scoring. Rose needs to adapt if he is going to be a real contributor this playoff team.
Photo: Minnesota Timberwolves’ Derrick Rose plays against the Golden State Warriors in an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 11, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)