Derrick Rose’s journey from the youngest MVP to becoming an unwanted backup point guard has been sad. After seven injury riddled years in Chicago, Rose was traded to the New York Knicks. During that year, Rose put up 18 points a game, but he also skipped a game to fly back to Chicago on the day of a game, without telling the Knicks. This year, Rose signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he played just 16 games with them. Again, Rose took a leave of absence and was reportedly considering his future in a sport where he was once MVP. The Cavaliers traded Rose to Utah, and Utah quickly waived him. About a month later, Rose signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves to play for his former coach Tom Thibodeau, in a move that makes no sense.
Tom Thibodeau has been known to love his former players. Since becoming coach and president of basketball operations for the Wolves, he has signed or traded for Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks, and now Derrick Rose. To be fair to Thibodeau, Butler has been the star player the Wolves were hoping he would be, and Gibson is a starter and one of the best players on the team. However, the Wolves are exceptionally weak at shooting guard and small forward depth, especially since Butler’s injury. Rose has always been a point guard, so this is a curious move when the Wolves desperately need a wing.
The Timberwolves have advanced stats darling and hometown hero Tyus Jones as their backup point guard. In plus/minus per 100 possessions, Jones is behind Butler and tied with Karl-Anthony Towns for second on the team. In limited minutes with the starters, many people believe that Jones has outplayed Jeff Teague. Jones’ quick hands lead to steals and deflections. Jones is a winning player, and if Thibodeau is planning on reducing his minutes for Rose, that would be a massive mistake.
There’s some thought that Jones and Rose could play together in the second unit. Rose does have the size to defend shooting guards, but that would push Jamal Crawford to the three, which would be a huge mismatch defensively. Maybe Thibodeau is planning on giving Rose some of Crawford’s minutes, but Crawford was reportedly unhappy with his playing time prior to the trade deadline.
Derrick Rose does not have a clear role on the Timberwolves. The team is struggling to hold onto a playoff spot, and really needs someone who can play the two and the three. That is not Rose. The Wolves still have an open roster spot, but their decision not to sign a wing is frustrating and a mistake.