There were two consensus reactions to the Minnesota Timberwolves signing Derrick Rose:
1) We’ve been expecting it. It’s Tom Thibodeau and a former player, he can’t resist that urge.
2) It’s okay, as long as they don’t play Rose much.
Forget MVP-level Rose, we aren’t going to see him again (even Rose admits that). However, Rose sat on the free agent market for a month (after being traded to Utah then waived) for a reason — there are questions about how he can help a team in today’s NBA. The knocks are his defense and lack of a three-point shot (25 percent this season). In a league deep with quality point guards, the teams that could use one still were looking for young players to develop first.
Rose, however, speaking to the media for the first time after practice in Minnesota, fired back at his critics. Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:
“I’m 29, they’re acting like I’m 39. I’m still able to push the ball up the floor, they’re acting like I’m in a wheelchair. All these injuries — like even coming here to take my physical [the Timberwolves medical staff] looked at my physical, they couldn’t believe how my body was in good shape. Little things like that push me to go out here and work even harder, because on the outside looking in, you probably think I walk with a limp, you probably think I’m wearing ice bags every day, this and that. Man, it’s totally opposite of that….
“This is how I feel about it, the whole perspective on it,” Rose said. “You could have your perspective on me, as far as I’m a bum, I can’t play, I can’t shoot, this and that, all right, cool, I have no hard feelings with that. I’m cool with that. [If] that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel, but at the same time, I don’t need your f—ing validation. I know who I am, I know what type of player I am. So you respect that and I respect that [point of view] and we should be good. That’s how I feel about it.”
Rose has found his motivation. We’ll see if that translates into much on the court.
Rose has a role in the NBA still as a backup point guard. In a situation where he can run some pick-and-roll, be asked to provide 15 minutes or so of scoring punch, and be covered for defensively, he could help a team. He’s better than some guys getting backup minutes this season. There are several teams out there who fit that bill and might consider reaching out to Rose this summer.