Timberwolves

Rosas’ Perplexing Handling Of the Point Guard Position

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker (USA TODAY Sports)

Ah, the offseason, a time for reflection and speculation. Take no mind that a riveting first round of the NBA playoffs is taking place as we speak, and do what most all readers of this site are known to do: Read, think about, and discuss the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Let’s not focus on the here and now so much, for the present is full of ridiculousness and pandering — players attending other teams’ playoff games and billionaires playing tiddlywinks with our passion. No, let’s take a short journey back in time.

On May 1, 2019, Gersson Rosas was hired as the Timberwolves president of basketball operations. A widely recognized momentous day in team history; a turning of a new page and packing up and putting in the attic the tales of the bad old days.

Yes, similar to the optimism some (including myself) feel about the team now, the summer of 2019 was a time of great hope for Wolves fans. A fair bit has happened between then and now, but not a whole lot of winning. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to go over the decision-making and circumstances that led to where we are now, hand in hand with Gersson.

The team that is listed in the box score for the final game of the 2018-19 season before Rosas’s hiring is as follows:

Not exactly a murderer’s row, but Karl-Anthony Towns was obviously also on the roster, as was impending free agent Derrick Rose.

And it is here, watching Rose put in push-shot floater after push-shot floater from my couch in 2021, that I would like to ask the question many fans asked at the time: Could the team have re-signed Rose for the 2019-20 season?  Would that have made sense?

Perhaps pertinent also, considering some of the players who have played the 1-guard spot for the Wolves in the past two years, is another question: What was wrong with Jones?

I’m no cap genius. In fact, not even a cap wiz. Still, I understand that money was tight going forward, and the team was not great, so retaining Rose at what ended up being $15 million over two years seemed a little excessive, as did Tyus at over $8 million a year. But there is a strong argument that subpar teams need solid point guards to have any chance of half-decent, and for this, I think Rosas can be criticized. The departure of those two and the complete nose-dive of Jeff Teague meant the Wolves went from having two-and-a-half point guards to almost none.

As much as I love Jordan McLaughlin’s pricetag, burst and clothing line (seriously, check it out), he is not the backup guard that the team needs. Neither was Shabazz Napier.

One knock on Rose is that he gave up almost as much as he got during his time in the Twin Cities, which was true. But whether that was the fault of him or those around him cannot really be said. I think an old saying goes that one should not be judged for their defense in Minnesota. Before his stint with the Wolves and after it, Rose has played in solid defensive lineups. He is a bucket-getter and a proven playoff player, and he walked out the door for nada.

As for Tyus, I think I speak for us all when I say I miss him and I want him back.

Really, there is no way of saying whether Rose would have re-signed anyway. But it seemed as if there was little interest in that first offseason of Rosas in keeping a veteran head in the backup position for if/when the brakes finally fell off of the Teague train.

Still, according to Rosas, he only had eyes for D’Angelo Russell that offseason, and now he’s got him. It’s time for a cards-on-the-table moment when it comes to Rosas’s choice of point guards, and only time will show that.

You are now free to continue watching the playoffs stress-free, one of the only upsides of our tortured fandom.

NEXT WEEK: Jarrett Culver for Saric and Cam Johnson, who says no? (Just kidding I won’t drag you through that.)

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Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker (USA TODAY Sports)

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