Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Rose Season Review

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 09: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 09: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

After a polarizing first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Derrick Rose had a shocking bounce-back season in 2018-19 and will likely enter free agency as a hot commodity.

Derrick Rose was the oft-rumored acquisition that former Minnesota Timberwolves boss Tom Thibodeau was allegedly longing to acquire for the better part of a year.

Finally, Rose was acquired in March of 2018 after being waived by Utah following a trade from Cleveland, where he had washed out as a bench piece on a contending team. Timberwolves fans had understandably low expectations, and for his part, Rose struggled upon his acquisition.

There were nagging ankle injuries from the get-go, and it wasn’t until a solid performance in the playoff series against Houston that Rose showed any signs of life.

Heading into the 2018-19 campaign, Rose was expected to be leaned on as the de facto sixth-man off the bench but was thrust into the starting lineup following an injury to starter Jeff Teague.

On Halloween, Rose dropped a career-high 50 points in a gutsy win over the Utah Jazz. He shot 19-of-31 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and also pitched in six assists and four rebounds.

Of course, he was injured just five minutes into the next game and missed a 30-point loss in Portland the next time the Wolves took the floor. As a whole, however, Rose missed only three games until Dec. 30. Then, he missed 13 of the next 19 games due to injury.

It’s hard to understate just how awesome Rose was until the injuries caught up to him. He was shooting 46.8 percent from 3-point range on 3.4 attempts per game through his first 33 games. Remember, Rose was a 29.6 percent career shooter on threes while launching only 2.5 per game for his career until this season.

Once the injuries started to catch up and the legs began to go, however, Rose’s jumper went AWOL. In fact, he made one of his final 30 3-point attempts — if you’re scoring at home, that’s a 3.3 shooting percentage.

Rose was still fantastic for the season; his 48.2 percentage from the field was the second-best of his career, and the 37 percent he finished at from beyond the arc was by far his best mark ever.  Rose’s 26.4 percent assist rate was his best since 2014-15, and it came with him playing more than two-thirds of his minutes off the ball.

Is it possible that this year was a fluke? Sure, and when it was all said and done Rose still only played in 51 games, had banged-up legs, and finished the year with a completely unrelated injury (bone chips in his elbow). But for a player on a veteran’s minimum contract, teams will take that all day.

It remains to be seen what kind of market Rose might have this summer, coming off more injuries but also his best season in seven years. He probably won’t hold out for too big of a deal; he’s made a ton of money between his previous contracts and endorsements. It’s possible he’s content in Minnesota, depending on what his feelings are about Ryan Saunders or a coach that would potentially be hired to replace the interim.

Next. A look at the Wolves' summer ahead. dark

At any rate, the Timberwolves struck gold with Rose’s production on a minimum contract this year, and it’s hard to complain about that.