“My whole life I dribbled the ball, initiated the play and ended the play,” Rose said. “Now I’m getting the ball in catch-and-shoot [positions]and just trying to change my whole mentality. … this is the first time in my career that I’m legitimately at the two.”
Rose is entering his 10th season in one of the most tumultuous careers of anyone who has won an MVP award. And now at 29 years old, with Jimmy Butler seemingly vacating shooting guard, the Wolves are trying Rose there to see how a lineup with he and point guard Jeff Teague will mesh.
Butler, who requested a trade two weeks ago, was absent from his second preseason game, a 128-101 loss to the Clippers at Staples Center, as the Wolves appeared to inch closer to dealing him. Multiple reports surfaced about advanced trade conversations between the Wolves and the Heat, with ESPN reporting Miami was awaiting word on a revised offer it sent Wednesday. That followed a New York Times report that said talks broke down between the sides when changes the Wolves made to the deal knocked it off course. ESPN also reported Butler might rejoin the team if a trade wasn’t completed by the start of the season.
Amid the dizzying speculation, the Wolves carried on with another game Wednesday with Rose in the lineup.
To Rose the opportunity to play two guard is equally tantalizing as it is challenging, a chance to revamp his game and find newer, creative ways to use his devastating slashing and driving capabilities to exact pressure on a defense and keep the Wolves one of the top offenses in the league. When Teague handles the ball coming up the floor, it allows Rose, to lie in wait, conserving energy for optimal acceleration should he get the ball.
“It’s going to take time, but we’re both unselfish guards…” Rose said. “That’s what it’s about, sharing at times compromising with one another and just trying to make a better team, facilitate and make everybody’s job easier.”
For his part, Teague wasn’t concerned about how he and Rose would mesh. Teague said his time in Atlanta required him to play off the ball as well.
“We played more of a pass and cut type of offense,” Teague said. “We never had a point guard. So I’m comfortable with it.”
They didn’t look comfortable against the Clippers. Rose and Teague shot just 3-for-18, combined for just 13 points, committed four turnovers and dished out seven assists.
Rose has had to get used to not being the focal point of the offense since the Bulls traded him to the Knicks in 2016-17. In New York, Rose had to share the ball with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
“I was the third option there,” Rose said. “I had to find ways to affect the game.”
It’s something that will continue here as Teague, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns need their touches.
The true test of this lineup will be playing defense without Butler, one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. It didn’t look great Wednesday, at least early, as the Clippers scored 34 points on the starting unit in the first 8 minutes, 30 seconds of the game. And the looming question with Rose is how long can he stay healthy?
But so long as he is, there might not be a drop off in scoring from a team that finished fourth in offensive efficiency last season.
As Teague put it: “When you start a pick-and-roll on one side and ends with one of the most explosive players we’ve seen ever on the other side, it’s a tough cover.”
With Former MVP-ALL STAR Derrick Rose relearning his game in a new spot with the Wolves, Playing shooting guard is both an opportunity and a challenge for ex-All-Star.
“ I am good, man,” Derrick Rose said after he reached down to knock on the hardwood floor for good luck after a Minnesota Timberwolves practice.
The former league MVP and three-time All-Star has had many lows in his career after his rapid rise to stardom. There have been injuries, leaves of absence and changes of jerseys — from Chicago to New York to Cleveland to Minneapolis.
But after his first healthy offseason in four years, Rose said he is finally in a “great space” mentally, physically and basketballwise.
“I am just rolling with the punches,” said Rose. “I know the hard work I put into everything. So, while I’m there, I am taking the role of being a leader to these young guys, being an example and maintaining my happiness.”
Not too long ago, Rose was on top of the NBA world. The No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, Rose was the 2009 Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in his second, third and fourth seasons. He averaged at least 20 points, six assists and three rebounds in each those seasons. And he earned the 2011 MVP award at just 23 years old.
But Rose’s career quickly wilted. He tore his left ACL during the 2012 playoffs, then missed the entire 2012-13 season following surgery. He received criticism for not returning that season and then played in only 10 games the following season after suffering a meniscus injury in his right knee.
Through it all, Rose gained a unique perspective on his haters and stayed true to himself.
“Even the people that were mad at me, they were mad at me because they wanted to see me hoop,” Rose said. “I understand that. You’re mad because I play some type of way that you like seeing and you want to see me out there. But I am going to do what is best for myself and sit out a year to get healthy enough to step on the court. …
“You have to know who you are. This whole time off or even getting injured, it was my way of tapping out. A lot of people don’t get the chance to tap out [and recover], and they get caught up into the propaganda. Winning MVP so young, doing this and doing that, I was caught in it.”
Rose was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks on June 22, 2016. During this time, Rose was also dealing with a civil lawsuit that accused Rose and two friends of raping Rose’s ex-girlfriend. In October 2016, a federal jury in Los Angeles found Rose and his friends not liable. (Rose’s accuser will reportedly have her appeal heard in November.)
Rose played well during the 2016-17 season, averaging 18 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 64 games. But on Jan. 10, 2017, Rose was fined by the Knicks after he flew home to Chicago for family reasons without notifying the team before a game against the New Orleans Pelicans. And on April 2, 2017, he suffered a season-ending injury, tearing the meniscus in his left knee, which led to a fourth surgery.
Rose joined LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent for the 2017-18 season. But the 11-year veteran took a leave of absence from Cleveland on Nov. 22 to contemplate his future after being frustrated by an ankle injury that kept him from being able to run. Rose rejoined the Cavaliers on Dec. 4 and told The Undefeated last Christmas that he was “not depressed.”
“Everyone has their own troubles,” Rose said. “Everyone does things in their own time. I just had to understand who I am and what I stand for. I prioritized things.”
But the Cavs would move on from Rose, who was traded to the Utah Jazz on Feb. 8, then waived and reunited with his old Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on March 8.
Rose averaged 14.2 points and 2.6 assists off the bench in 23.8 minutes per game for the Wolves during the first round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets. And Thibodeau, president and head coach of the Wolves, re-signed Rose to a one-year, $2.1 million deal this offseason.
“It is pretty easy just being around him, the amount of time I’ve been around him,” Thibodeau said. “I’ve watched him after he got traded [from Chicago] and followed him pretty closely. I knew he was capable. It was just a matter of him being healthy. Whenever he has been healthy he has played at a very high level. If you studied what he has done throughout his career, he has the ability to elevate his game throughout the playoffs.
“And then the fact that he is young. He is 29 years old. I thought there were a lot of pluses to [re-signing him].”
Rose, who spent the summer in Los Angeles, said it has been four years since he was healthy and able to have such an enjoyable offseason. With no rehabilitation or obligations, he went on family trips to Greece and the Turks and Caicos Islands. He also went to see J. Cole in concert in New York City, Drake in Los Angeles and Sam Smith in San Diego.
“It let my body heal,” Rose said. “I went to three concerts. I went on a vacay. Most of the time I wasn’t able to do that. My last year in New York I had a huge trip for my family planned to Turks but I had to get surgery, so I had to cancel that whole family trip because of surgery. That has happened numerous times where I planned something but it had to be canceled because of rehab. …
“I enjoyed myself this summer. This is the first time I have done that in a long time.”
Although Rose was surprised by the news that his Wolves teammate, Jimmy Butler, had asked for a trade, the situation has thrust Rose back into a starting role. During the preseason opener, the guard had 16 points and two steals in 21 minutes against the Golden State Warriors.
“I am going to run with any opportunity,” Rose said. “That is my goal. Get back in, and anything that comes my way I am going to grab it. I have no time to be feeling spiteful. I don’t want to say, ‘Look at me’ or ‘Look at what they did.’ I don’t have no time for that. What I am doing right now is history in my own world.
“If I wasn’t playing like I am right now, I could have went back home to my family chilling, because I am good financially. I was able to stay strong and focus. There are little kids looking at me, and my son is looking at me. I have to be an example for my son for times when he gets older and he’s bitching and complaining about what is going on. I don’t want to hear it. Go look at my résumé and handle what you have to handle. That is what I want from my kids.”
Rose, who has a 6-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter, turns 30 on Thursday.
“Me turning 30, it plays into learning who I am as a man, learning who my family is,” Rose said. “My mom is a worrier. She has faith, but she worries. The genetics, I think, rubbed off on me. When I was younger, I used to worry a lot. But I told myself, ‘All of this is out of my control anyway. Why am I frustrated with this, worried about that, when at the end of the day, I am happy and I believe in myself?’
“I never went in deep with it. I am like, ‘Man, I am not going to be like Mom.’ That was my goal. That is what ended up happening until I got perspective of the whole situation.
“I am in year 11 now. I tore my ACL in my third year. Most guys would have been retired. Financially, I have saved my money. It’s all about the love. I still feel like I can hoop.”
MORE ON DERRICK ROSE
Derrick Martell Rose (born October 4, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one year of college basketball for the Memphis Tigers before being drafted first overall by his hometown Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA draft. After being named the NBA Rookie of the Year, Rose, at age 22, became the youngest player to win the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2011.
Rose was born and raised in the Chicago area, and attended Simeon Career Academy. He was highly recruited by NCAA scouts and coaches, eventually choosing to join the University of Memphis under coach John Calipari. Rose led the Memphis Tigers to the most wins in NCAA history (a 38–2 record), their first number one ranking in 25 years, and an appearance in the NCAA championship game. In 2009, an NCAA investigation revealed that Rose’s SAT scores had been invalidated, and as a result, the NCAA vacated Memphis’ entire 2007–08 season.
THE ROSE SCHOLARS PROGRAM
Three-time NBA All-Star and MVP Derrick Rose announced today that he is starting his own scholarship, The Rose Scholars. Continuing his philanthropic legacy of off-court impact, Derrick is encouraging high school students to pursue their dreams of college by awarding over $400,000 in tuition money through the program. For further information and instructions on how to apply, visit www.rosescholars.com.
“Through The Rose Scholars program, I hope to provide students a path to college that was not previously available to them,” said Rose. “Investing in school-age youth has long been a passion of mine, and I am proud to continue to help children pursue higher education as a means to better themselves and their communities.”
Derrick has a long tradition of giving back to the community through various personal endeavors and NBA Cares programs, with a focus on the well-being of inner-city youth. In 2014, he donated $1 million to After School Matters, a Chicago charity that arranges out-of-school apprenticeships for teens. The Rose Scholars is a further commitment to provide opportunities for others, focusing on students who are civically minded and demonstrate a willingness to lead.
About The Rose Scholars
Students can apply at www.rosescholars.com and they will need to fill out application, write an essay and upload a post to their social media sharing how they have been a leader in the community. Derrick wants to recognize students who have worked hard to pursue their dream of attending college. The application for The Rose Scholars program launches today and students are encouraged to apply before the deadline of September 31st. Winners will be announced around October 15th.