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3 reasons the Minnesota Timberwolves should re-sign Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose

The renaissance season of Derrick Rose was perhaps the most heartwarming storyline of the 2018-19 NBA season. After years of injuries and toiling away at his craft while bouncing around multiple organizations, Rose had his best year since his MVP season in 2010-11.

“Pooh” averaged 18.0 points, 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds on a career-high 37 percent shooting from beyond the arc and nearly 50 percent from the field. Rose established himself as a leading candidate for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, and his 50-point game (another career high) against the Utah Jazz on Halloween was one of the best individual performances of the season.

Rose is once again set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and after this season, is likely to have a number of interested suitors depending on his perceived monetary value. That said, his incumbent team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, would probably do well to re-sign him.

Here are three reasons that the Timberwolves should look to keep Rose.

Is Tyus Jones really a better option?

Minnesota swung a deal to acquire Jones, the 24th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, from the Cleveland Cavaliers on draft night. Jones had shown some good inside-out scoring ability as a freshman at Duke, as well as operating within the pick-and-roll.

But Jones has hardly made the kind of leap that Minnesota would surely have expected by now. Although he has become extremely efficient in handling the basketball (including an NBA record 6.96 assist-to-turnover ratio this season), he has lacked confidence shooting the three and barely eclipsed 40 percent shooting from the field.

In terms of his distribution, Jones excels in making the right basketball play, and his defensive tenacity has improved.

But the Timberwolves also face a decision with Jones, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. If another team is willing to pay upwards of $10 million for him, is it worth it for Minnesota to pony up that kind of cash instead of potentially committing the money to Rose, coming off of his best season in eight years?

Then there is this: Jones’ plus-minus was -3 this season. Rose, on the other hand, was a +36 for the year.

Who else can score (efficiently)?

On paper, Minnesota has plenty of scoring options offensively. After all, they ranked a respectable 13th in offensive rating this season. However, they ranked 17th in total field goal percentage and 20th in three-point percentage, according to NBA.com.

Rose was second on the team (behind Karl-Anthony Towns) in field goal percentage for players with at least five attempts per game, and was among the team leaders in three-point percentage as well. While Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague both struggled from the field, Rose was efficient with his scoring, averaging over 23 points per-36 minutes.

Teague, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Wiggins and Towns are all back, but that looks like a rather inefficient (aside from Towns) bunch to rely on, especially from a starting five perspective.

Veteran leadership

Taj Gibson is also set to become a free agent this summer. What happens if the Timberwolves lose both Gibson and Rose? Who is their veteran leader, Teague?

This is still a young and fairly temperamental group that needs a quiet leader like Rose to build confidence and togetherness. Considering everything that he has already been through, he is the perfect figure to help guys like Towns and Wiggins develop from a mental toughness and intangible standpoint, as much as anything else.

Rose will be 31 next October, and Teague will be 31 this summer, so age is a relative non-factor. If the Timberwolves are seriously committed to making the playoffs next season, then re-signing Rose is absolutely the right decision.