Acquiring Rose is a bad idea for Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves need to add defensive prowess and efficient 3-point shooting to their roster this summer. Naturally, one of the first free agents they’ve been linked to is a poor defensive player who cannot shoot threes.
ESPN’s Ian Begley reported in May the Timberwolves “view Derrick Rose as a potential free-agent target this summer.” Earlier this month Begley reported members of the Knicks organization are interesting in pursuing a trade for Rubio, likely involving Rose heading to Minnesota.
Rose was the 2011 MVP under Wolves head coach and President of Basketball Operations Tom Thibodeau’s tutelage. Since the, things have been rough for the former first overall pick. Rose has never appeared in more than 66 games in a season since 2011.
He’s coming off a tumultuous year with the New York Knicks where he shot 21 percent from 3-point range and missed a game without telling anyone in the organization where he was. He scored 18 points per game but posted just 4.4 assists per game and played minimal defense.
Never mind the overall value of Rose’s game, he would be a terrible signing in Minnesota purely because of fit.
Rose will demand a starter’s salary but would assume the backup role in Minnesota. The Wolves already have a backup point guard who can score, Tyus Jones, and there’s still hope Kris Dunn can be a point guard.
If the idea is to sign Rose and trade Rubio (a truly horrendous idea), the fit is still poor. In that scenario Rose is occupying the court with three relatively high usage scorers in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. They both posted usage percentages north of 27 percent last season. The other key cog in the Wolves top unit last season was Zach LaVine, whose usage percentage was 21.7. Rose’s usage was 25.7 percent which, while down from his career average, is still higher than it should be.
All three of Towns, Wiggins and LaVine should see their usages rise next season – playing next to Rose would impede that and make life tougher on three young studs who already have plenty of work to do. Casting off one of the 10 best creators in the league to add a high volume scorer would be a nightmare for the young guns.
Additionally, the point guard position is the deepest position in the league and it’s poised to become even deeper with an incredibly talented class entering the draft. It’s never been easier to find cheap point guard talent, meaning there’s no reason to pay big for Rose.
It’s also important to think about how Rose’s skills overlap with the core of the Wolves’ roster. Towns, Wiggins and LaVine are all fantastic scorers. Shabazz Muhammad and Nemanja Bjelica can score off the bench as well. Whenever Gorgui Dieng or Ricky Rubio shot in volume last season they were able to fill it up.
The Timberwolves owned the No. 10 offense in the league, just two points per 100 possessions shy of the No. 5 offense – scoring isn’t the issue.
If Minnesota feels the need to add talent at the point guard position they should look for talent in the area they need it: defense. With cheaper players like Shelvin Mack and Darren Collison on the market who play a much higher level of defense and don’t need the ball in their hands as much on the other end, Derrick Rose should not be on the Timberwolves free agency wish list.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.