If there was one saying to summarize Derrick Rose’s season, it would be this. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That’s the kind of feeling the Minnesota Timberwolves have had since picking up Rose on March 8th.
Misused and Misunderstood?
The Chicago Native signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the off-season and many expected him to thrive alongside LeBron James. But history once again repeated itself, as Rose would suffer an ankle injury after a few games. Cleveland would then reduce Derrick’s role in the offense, leaving him to spot up in the corner. Shooting just 25% from three, Rose looked as if he was one-dimensional on offense and just wasn’t the right fit for the Cavs.
“The ankle sprain that sidelined him for five games didn’t aid matters in terms of his acclimation. Just prior he was showing that he was shaking the rust off and you could see he was starting to catch a rhythm.” Adam Howes explains. “In the games I watched him play I noticed he was always looking to make the right pass, was hustling on D and wasn’t forcing things offensively, more just waiting for the game to come to him. Which to me shows maturation in his game and that he’s carving out his role moving forward.”
The Cavs made a desperate move that sent Rose to the Utah Jazz, but it wouldn’t last long. Rose was waived shortly after as the Jazz didn’t see him as a good fit for their team. Rose would spend 26 days as a free-agent before the Wolves finally signed him for the rest of the season. And after a shaky start in Minnesota, the Cavs may have regretted their decision to let go of D-Rose during their playoff run.
A Rose Blooms once Again
Reunited with his former Coach Tom Thibodeau, Rose finally got more freedom to create offense and flourished. The former MVP showed flashes averaging 14.2 PPG, 2.6 APG, 1.8 REBS on 50% FG. The Houston Rockets struggled to keep Rose contained who shockingly shot 70% from deep and 66% around the rim.
“Important to note that while the Wolves struggled with Jimmy Butler out, Rose was definitely a factor in helping them stay afloat,” said Howes. “He wasn’t putting up All-Star numbers by any stretch, but his veteran presence provided a steady hand at times.”
Veteran leadership 💯 pic.twitter.com/JbZxakONrl
— Murtuza (@MurtuzaMateen) May 2, 2018
While Derrick had his best offensive rating in the playoffs, it’s also his lowest defensive rating yet. But in Rose’s defense, he played 74% of his time at shooting guard and was forced to guard the probable MVP, James Harden.
“I think the confidence Thibs and his teammate have in (Rose) definitely helped propel him forward,” Adam stated. “To the point, we witnessed in the Playoffs where he was coming off the bench and impacting games in a big way. Ultimately the Wolves weren’t victorious, but you can’t help but look at his games in that series as a positive moving forward.”
Undeniably, the three-time All-Star has some inconsistencies at times but Thibs has shown that he is willing to be patient with him.
“Tom Thibodeau credits Rose with keeping the season alive while Jimmy Butler was out, I heard him say essentially that to Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine on NBA radio last week.” said Hoop Mag’s Josh Eberley. “I think that’s madness and Thibs clearly has a hard time looking off nepotist instincts but trust is a hard thing to come by, and I get he trusts his guys.
To his strictly basketball related credit, he had a couple flashes for the Wolves in the playoffs. For what it’s worth, the Wolves had a better net rating when Wiggins and Towns were on the bench. Not the case for Rose. The -14.4 net rating the Wolves had when Rose was sitting was the second-best mark on the team, trailing only Butler (-23.1).
He’s still talented enough to be a rotation player in this league, in the right system, with the right adjustments to his game.“
Rose had overcome criticism by being efficient and having the highest plus/minus of any of the Wolves starters. But some are unwilling to give Rose praise or fair criticism.
The truth is that most people have a bias towards Derrick, whether it be negative or positive. There are very few who remain in the middle. And when big media platforms are used to express someone’s opinion instead of the player’s performance, it leads people to believe that some criticism is unfair.
“I will admit, like many, I’ve soured on Rose. He plays an unaware style of basketball that leads to bad shots and the athleticism can’t save him anymore.” Eberley stated.
Bleacher Report posted a controversial article stating that Thibodeau’s faith in Rose was killing the Wolves chances. This sparked a lot of backlash from social media since it came after Rose scoring 16 PTS, 4 ASTS, 2 REBS, on 50% FG in just 23 minutes. The Wolves only lost by three despite Rose having the highest usage percentage.
Rose is also criticized for his past allegations that don’t have anything to do with basketball. It’s unclear why, even though he won his case, he doesn’t get the same pass as other NBA players with controversial pasts.
“Some of his commentary during that time outright put me off him…” said Eberley “The internet is very fickle with who they give and don’t give a pass to. Kobe winning an Oscar in the era of me too was super gross to me.”
A Place to Call Home?
Now approaching free-agency once again, it’s time for Rose to consider his options. Prior to being signed by the Timberwolves, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report reported that Rose was only receiving 10-day contracts.
Now we can expect Derrick to find more than just 10-day offers after his impressive playoff run, but there are still some worries. Once again Rose failed to prove he could remain durable throughout the season. Not only that but the former Cavs guard took time off to reconsider his future, which led many to believe Rose was considering retirement.
However, Derrick denied those claims and made it known that he was also not in it for the money.
“Man, I don’t care about… Not to be rude—I don’t care about no f***ing money.” Rose addressed to Media. “It’s not about that. I’ve saved up enough money. It’s not about that. If I wanted to leave, I would have left.”
That being said, where would be the best spot for D-Rose to land next season? The best option for Derrick would be to sign with a contender in hopes of getting a ring to secure his spot in the Hall of Fame. However, it’s unlikely Rose would want to leave the Timberwolves, as he’s expressed loyalty and commitment to every team he’s been on.
A Chicago homecoming isn’t off the table, but unless D-Rose is planning for it to be his final season or the Bulls attempt to be contenders, it isn’t likely either.
The Timberwolves were willing to be patient with him, giving Pooh a final chance to prove himself this season. They gave Rose the opportunities he needed to be provided by his old teammates and former coach.
“As long as he can stay healthy he still has much to offer to the right team,” said Howes. “After bouncing from New York to Cleveland (not including Utah) to the land of 1000 lakes, It looks like he’s found the right home.”
Thibs said signing D’Rose “we’ll address that down the road,” but called him a “terrific addition” and added “I thought he was playing well for us” and liked Rose w/ small lineup. So read between the lines.
— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) April 30, 2018
This isn’t the end for Rose and we can expect him back in a Wolves jersey next season. And when Rose is ready to start his final chapter, only a Bulls jersey would be fitting.