Minnesota Timberwolves: Injury impacts on the rotation

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 23: Head coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 23: Head coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, and Robert Covington are all expected to miss the remainder of the season. What should the Minnesota Timberwolves’ rotation look like moving forward?

The Minnesota Timberwolves once again find themselves in the familiar yet precarious spot of not being talented enough (or perhaps ambitious is a better word) to reach the playoffs, but also not God-awful enough to get a top draft pick.

In the midst of a five-game skid, the team’s two best guards were officially announced as out for the rest of the season, and the confirmation that their best defensive player would remain out also came.

A chip fracture in the Derrick Rose’s elbow will put an end to the veteran guard’s 2018-19, return-to-form season. It was a season that echoed his days in Chicago, complete with a career-high 50-point game versus Utah on Halloween.

Despite playing off the bench for the majority of the season, his important sixth-man role will surely be missed on a team lacking a balanced offensive attack.

On top of Rose’s elbow problems, Jeff Teague is also expected to miss the remainder of the season, while Robert Covington has been confirmed to not return.

With the team’s two top point guards out, Tyus Jones will have to continue in his starting role with veteran Jerryd Bayless backing him up. Saunders, of course, shared that he is plenty confident in Jones, as he shared with the media prior to the loss in Charlotte on Thursday.

"“It hasn’t translated into wins as of late, but we’re building something, we feel, in terms of trying to move the ball, trying to get the ball in different areas, and having a point guard like Tyus who’s able to do that and is able to continue to grow to do that is a good thing.”"

It’s not ideal for the top point guards to be missing the final stretch of the season, but as a young member on a team that is all but eliminated from playoff contention, now is a chief opportunity to get the young facilitator some reps at the starting position.

Jones has filled in nicely in Rose’s absence, scoring more than 10 points in four of the last five games and averaging 7.4 assists per contest as well. He is coming off a stellar performance in Memphis on Saturday with 12 points and nine assists.

More time from new addition Cameron Reynolds could also be expected, although Saunders seems to be favoring time with veteran Bayless and Jones playing some minutes together and extended minutes for rookie Josh Okogie on the wing. Reynolds has proven to have some game, whose highlight came in Denver scoring 12 points all coming from beyond the arc.

However, if the team wants more wins like the one in Memphis, they’ll need consistent output like supporting players like Dario Saric and Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins, who had one of his where-has-this-Wiggins-been games against the Grizzlies, scored 22 points while going 9-of-15 from the field. For his part, Saric finished the game with a plus-minus of +16 and 11 points.

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With all this instability, it sure feels as though Saunders’ year as interim coach will end on a down-note. Whether he comes back for another season or the team looks outwardly for a new coach will be an interesting storyline to keep an eye on during the coming off-season.