Jimmy Butler started at the shooting guard position for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, but now that the four-time All-Star has requested a trade, it appears Derrick Rose has the inside track to replace Butler in Minnesota’s starting lineup.
Rose has been running with the starters in a two point guard lineup alongside Jeff Teague in practices so far. Rose and Teague have been playing with Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson, and Karl-Anthony Towns.
With Jimmy not here, Taj Gibson says Derrick Rose has been running with the 1s in a 2 PG lineup with Jeff Teague
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) September 26, 2018
Derrick Rose re-signed with the Timberwolves on a one-year contract worth $2.3 million on the first day of free agency in July. The former league MVP was minimally used in the nine regular season games he played with Minnesota last season. He posted just 5.8 points in about 12 minutes per game.
Rose’s role, however, changed during the 2018 playoffs and he delivered in a big way. The explosive guard averaged 14.2 points per game while shooting an efficient 50.9 percent from the field and 70 percent from beyond the arc in his five postseason games against the Houston Rockets. Rose showed off that quick first step and got to the basket at will, proving he’s still one of the most athletic players in the game despite undergoing four knee surgeries.
It was a small sample size, but the Timberwolves’ offense benefited from Rose’s presence on the floor during the playoffs. The team had an offensive rating of 119.1 when Rose was playing during the postseason compared to 97.0 when he was on the bench.
Depending on which players the Timberwolves are able to acquire in the inevitable Butler trade, it will be interesting to see if Rose remains in the starting lineup or goes back to the sixth man role. Minnesota will surely try and get a wing defender in exchange for Butler. Reports have stated that Butler prefers to be traded to the Miami Heat.
So far, Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, and Justise Winslow have been mentioned as potential players that could head to the Timberwolves if Minnesota and Miami are able to agree upon a deal.
Rose showed in the playoffs he’s able to score in bunches, something the Timberwolves will need this season. The best course of action might be to bring Rose off the bench and give him his own unit to run. He’s not that good of an off-ball player, so playing Rose alongside Teague or Tyus Jones will defeat the purpose of having him on the team since his strengths are scoring, facilitating, and pushing the ball in transition.