As the 2016-2017 NBA season comes to a close, NBA teams are gearing up for another hectic free agency season. The Timberwolves have holes to fill, but is Derrick Rose the answer at point guard?
The Minnesota Timberwolves have yet another important year ahead of them in regards to building around a young roster, with the hope that a few good moves could put them in a position to win consistently. With Tom Thibodeau’s first year as head coach and president of basketball operations in the books, fans are turning their attention towards possible moves to be made under the new regime.
A reoccurring name involved with the Timberwolves is Derrick Rose, most recently the starting point guard for the New York Knicks. Rose will be a free agent this summer after signing a one-year deal with the Knicks in 2016.
Due to Thibodeau’s Chicago connections, and given the fact that under Thibs, Rose was the league MVP, rumors continue to swirl involving the Timberwolves as a possible landing spot for Rose. Because the Timberwolves have three point guards on the roster, we must wonder, where would Rose fit? How can the Timberwolves make the acquisition of Rose work when there is young talent at his position already on the roster?
Ricky Rubio posted career highs in points per game, assists per game, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage during the 2016-2017 season. An ongoing concern for Timberwolves fans is that Rubio cannot shoot, let alone make open jumpers. This year, however, Rubio improved in almost every category of shooting. And according to Bleacher Report, it was the Timberwolves who denied a rumored Rose-for-Rubio trade at the trade deadline in February.
Is Derrick Rose the right fit to solve the shooting problem on the Timberwolves?
The growth of Tyus Jones and Kris Dunn is promising. But, is Thibodeau looking to win now?
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Derrick Rose is a shoot-first player. He posted 18 points and 4.4 assists per game in 2016-2017. With Tom Thibodeau’s defensive approach, it would seem irrational to add Rose to the roster, unless there is serious consideration from Rose to take a role-player-type salary.
There are not many guards who can pass like Rubio. Dunn may already be the best one-on-one defender the team has to offer. Furthermore, Tyus Jones played solid minutes when given the opportunity. What the Timberwolves lack at point guard is pure scoring. With Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Zach LaVine providing volume scoring, why add a shoot-first guard like Rose?
Experiments with a pass-first guard has worked in the past. If LaVine, Wiggins, and Towns all reach their ceiling, the Timberwolves won’t need a point guard who shoots 12-15 times a game. When Rajon Rondo was a member of the Celtics, there were three scoring stars who provided the majority points for the team.
Interestingly, Tom Thibodeau was a key member of the Celtics’ coaching staff during those winning years. If Thibodeau liked the way that Celtics team was setup, gunning for Derrick Rose this off-season would be unrealistic.
What can fans expect this off-season?
If Derrick Rose were to become a member of the Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio would most likely need a new home; Rose is a starter, and Rubio is a starter, that much is clear.
Kris Dunn is still developing, and could maybe be the future point guard, but he cannot shoot at this stage in his development. Tyus Jones seems to be too much of a misfit for the Wolves — at least until his defense improves drastically, he could be expendable. The Timberwolves should continue to focus on adding shooting, without sacrificing big money, something Rose would most likely ask of.
I doubt the Timberwolves will add Rose; if they do, I think there is chemistry at risk, which could further delay the growth of the young Minnesota Timberwolves roster.
With the Timberwolves seemingly close to becoming a winning franchise, this off-season will prove to be pivotal. Spending too much on a few players could ruin long-term spending on future stars such as Wiggins and Towns. Too little of spending could result in another losing season. It is up to Thibodeau to spend wisely and use the salary cap to provide a balanced roster.
And if that does not happen, fans of the Timberwolves and the players themselves could easily lose sight of the bright future that was promised to them after the hiring of Tom Thibodeau in April of 2016.