Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose enjoyed one of the better comeback seasons we have seen in quite some time this year, going from a complete afterthought to a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
However, as par for the course for Rose, the veteran was recently shut down by the Timberwolves due to an elbow injury and played in just 51 games total during the 2018-19 campaign.
At this point, it’s probably silly to expect Rose to play a full season, so you just have to hope you get the most out of him when he is actually on the floor. This season, he averaged 18 points, 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds over 27.3 minutes per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the floor, 37 percent from three-point range and 85.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Of course, there was also the emotional 50-point performance early on in the year that sent NBA fans everywhere into a frenzy.
But what really is next for Derrick Rose, the former MVP who is still a mere shell of the player he once was even with the solid season he just had?
Well, for starters, we need to examine Rose’s year for what it was: a great couple of months. That’s really it.
Since the end of December, the 30-year-old has hardly even played, taking part in just 19 games, and when he was on the floor during that span, he was not very good, going just 5-of-40 from three-point range as his efficiency took a nosedive.
We also know that Rose is a liability on the defensive end and is not much of a playmaker, so his entire value is based on his ability to score the basketball at a somewhat efficient rate.
As a whole over 51 games, Rose did that this season, posting a true-shooting percentage of 55.7 percent and an effective field-goal percentage of 51.8 percent, both solid numbers.
Again, though, much of that came during Rose’s inhuman month of November, when he made 27 of his 38 triples and shot 54.4 percent from the floor overall.
That was obviously not sustainable, and while he still had a really good December, making 46.8 percent of his field-goal attempts and 40.6 percent of his treys, his production dipped quite a bit over the course of the remainder of his season.
Make no mistake: Rose, who is on a one-year deal in Minnesota, will unquestionably draw some interest on the free-agent market this summer, but teams will definitely have reservations about adding him.
As much as we love to romanticize Rose’s ridiculous stretch in the first half of the season, we need to be careful to not just assume that he is back to being a really good player, because he could just as well revert back to the player he was from 2014 through 2018 when he couldn’t even crack 30 percent from downtown.
That begs the question: which contending club will give him a shot?
Every contender in the league could use a microwave scorer off the bench, and that is what Rose is, at best, at this point of his career.
Another thing we have to keep in mind is that even though Rose had a nice year, he will likely be inexpensive and probably won’t be able to get anything more than a one-year contract, as I can’t imagine any teams are going to fully buy into what he did in November and December and seriously commit to him.
What Derrick Rose could potentially represent is a great low-risk, high-reward signing for someone. If he comes in and does well, fantastic; you have a poor man’s Lou Williams. If he lays an egg? Then you only signed him to a cheap one-year deal and it’s not that big of an issue.
The thing is, a guy like Rose could possibly damage an offense if he is not scoring at an efficient rate, so you would also have to assume that he would have a relatively short leash on whatever team he joins.
You don’t want a chucker who can’t shoot playing big minutes off the bench, so if he doesn’t work out over the first month or so of next season, his respective club may cut ties with him.
Let’s also remember that Rose is incredibly injury-prone and has not played 70 games since his MVP-winning campaign back in 2010-11, so that will also limit how much money he gets on the open market and will also almost surely put a one-year cap on his deal.
Sure, Rose is a great story. He showed he still has something left in the tank, and if he keeps playing this way, then the 30-year-old might end up having a long career ahead of him if he stays healthy.
But we don’t know for sure how he is going to look come next October.
Hopefully, Derrick Rose can permanently summon whatever strength he displayed in November and December to become a valuable piece moving forward.