There is an entirely different post to be written on all the moral reasons one would not want Derrick Rose on their basketball team, but putting those aside and the karmic repercussions that would come from signing someone who has proved himself to be, to put it lightly, the opposite of an upstanding citizen, a Derrick Rose signing makes less than zero basketball sense for the Timberwolves.
Now that Rose has cleared waivers, the rumblings of him signing with the Timberwolves, which began with Marc Stein and then were echoed by local sages Jon Krawczynski and Jerry Zgoda, have gotten louder. We all know the main reason why: Thibodeau likes his old guys. Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and Aaron Brooks are all Timberwolves, in part of this reason. Thibs’ strange loyalties have largely benefited the Wolves, but this move would completely undo the reputation that he is building as well as undoing the fragile chemistry the still-new roster has been developing over this season. Let’s look at some of the issues:
1) Jimmy Butler has not been overly kind toward Rose since their departure as Bulls teammates. In every article I’ve seen about Rose’s old teammates welcoming him back, Taj Gibson has been the primary proponent. Not Jimmy. Can’t say I’m enthusiastic about ruffling the feathers of your team’s best player.
2) The Timberwolves have two primary roster needs right now: three-point shooting and defense. Rose does neither. Rose is a bad three-point shooter, under 30% for his career, and his shooting beyond the arc this year is at 25%. His defensive numbers meanwhile are abysmal and the worst in his career.
3) The other thing the Timberwolves need is roster balance: In particular, we need more Tyus Jones and less Jeff Teague. It seems that Thibodeau is finally figuring this out (he always does eventually) by playing Jones in meaningful fourth quarter minutes over the past three games. Rose’s arrival would completely complicate this situation. Best case scenario, Rose gets Jamal Crawford off the court (the Wolves are +5.0 when Jamal is off, -1.8 when he is on), but then what even does Derrick Rose do better than Jamal Crawford?? I don’t know. If Rose comes to take Jones’s minutes, Timberwolves fans will riot.
[As a sidenote, you know what’s insane? Because Derrick Rose is currently team-less, I can’t find his stats on NBA.com, but I know them reasonably well bye heart as I have been obsessively checking them since he has gotten traded]
4) Say, this is all just a minor addition and we’re essentially swapping Rose with the unplayable Aaron Brooks and Shabazz Muhammad, with the idea that Rose is only to be used in emergencies. Certainly Rose is better than those guys right? The answer is: It doesn’t matter. Rose is rumored to have played a role in the dysfunction in Cleveland, struggling with taking on a bench role. Imagine how things will go if he finds himself third on the depth chart in Minnesota.
5) Maybe this doesn’t happen. Every time I have thought that Thibodeau would steer the ship over the edge, he has shown restraint. If the Rose signing goes through, it would be a deflating moment in the midst of the most enjoyable Timberwolves season in years.