Who is new Wolves guard Derrick Rose?
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau intends to find out. The Wolves signed Rose, a staple of the Thibodeau-era Bulls, for the remainder of the season Thursday, nearly a month after the Utah Jazz waived the one-time MVP.
Rose started the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but began pondering his NBA future after suffering an ankle injury. He was later jettisoned at the trade deadline as part of the Cavs‘ dramatic midseason rebuild.
Once among the NBA’s brightest young stars, Rose was selected No. 1 overall in 2008, earning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, his first All-Star nod and the MVP award in consecutive seasons.
That player — one who averaged 21.0 points, 6.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game during his first four NBA seasons — appears to be no more. Then known for his explosiveness and a signature floater, a series of soft-tissue injuries have seemingly robbed Rose of the sheer athleticism that led to those numbers.
To clarify, a timeline:
April 28, 2012: Rose, then the reigning MVP, tears his ACL four months after signing a five-year, $94.8 million extension with the Bulls. He opts to sit out the entire 2012-13 season following surgery.
Nov. 22, 2013: Rose, still with the Bulls, tears the meniscus in his right knee, ending his season.
Feb. 24, 2015: Another tear. Same meniscus. This time Rose misses just 20 games.
March 29, 2017: Rose, now with the Knicks, suffers his third torn meniscus, this time in his left knee.
It’s enough to get most players thinking about the end — and Rose reportedly has at various junctures — but as his Wolves career begins, the former star remains defiant about the state of his game.
Some interesting thoughts from DRose today after practice. pic.twitter.com/xcvzZX75O0
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) March 10, 2018
Rose made his Wolves debut late in the first half Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, checking in for 6:36, hitting one of his five field-goal attempts and posting a rating of minus-17.
If this is indeed the final stop in Rose’s abbreviated basketball career, it marks the end for a player who — when healthy — has dominated at every level since rising to prominence on Chicago’s south side.
A product of the Englewood neighborhood, Rose starred at local hoops powerhouse Simeon, leading the Wolverines to state titles in 2006 and 2007 as an upperclassman.
Rose left for Memphis to play for then-head coach John Calipari, leading the Tigers to the 2008 national championship game. He averaged 14.9 points, 4.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 40 games as a freshman, before declaring for the draft, figures and wins that were later wiped out by an academic scandal involving Rose.
An All-Star in three straight seasons from 2010-12, Rose broke into the league with the Bulls during the 2008-09 season, averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game en route to the Rookie of the Year award.
Rose upped his game during his third season, averaging 25.0 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game and leading the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals. The high-flying Chicago native proved the perfect foil for LeBron James following the latter’s much-hyped decision to join the Miami Heat, becoming the youngest player ever to win the MVP award.
Injuries limited Rose to just 39 games the following season, before a torn ACL during the Bulls’ playoff opener forever altered the course of his career.