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Paul Pierce says Derrick Rose is still a starter in the NBA

Derrick Rose, Paul Pierce, Timberwolves

Boston Celtics legend and current ESPN NBA analyst Paul Pierce believes Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Derrick Rose is still a starting-caliber player, and isn’t sure if current Timberwolves starter Jeff Teague is better than him.

On Tuesday’s edition of “The Jump,” Pierce spoke highly of Rose, saying the former MVP has a lot left in the tank and is more than a serviceable player.

“Derrick Rose, where’s he’s at right now, is more than a serviceable player,” Pierce said. “To me, he’s still a starter in this league. He can still make shots. He still has a good IQ. He’s a scoring point guard. This is what the NBA is today.”

Rose started for the Timberwolves in their preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors. The Chicago native played well, finishing with 16 points while shooting 6-of-10 from the field, 1-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. Rose was starting in place of Jimmy Butler, who has requested a trade and is not with the team.

Rose was arguably the best player for the Timberwolves in the 2018 playoff series against the Houston Rockets. The youngest MVP in NBA history averaged 14.2 points per game and shot 50.9 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the 3-point line in his five postseason games. 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.

Pierce is the latest retired player who thinks Rose is a starter in Minnesota. Kevin Garnett told Brandon Robinson on Scoop B Radio in August that if it were up to him, he would insert Rose into the starting lineup. Despite enduring four knee surgeries, Rose continues to show he can get to the basket at will and finish in traffic. He’s not as fast as he was during his MVP season, but Rose is still a blur in transition.