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NBA Daily: Derrick Rose Finds Himself Among Familiar Faces

With his tenure in Cleveland a flaming failure, Derrick Rose now takes his talents to Minneapolis.

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There will be yet another new beginning for Derrick Rose, but at least this time, those surrounding him will be somewhat familiar.

Even more importantly, he’ll have an opportunity to play in some meaningful basketball games over the final weeks of the season.

In what many seemed to feel was a foregone conclusion, on Thursday afternoon, news broke that Rose had agreed to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.

After being traded from the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks and subsequently signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rose has suddenly changed teams four times over the past 18 months.

With him, Rose carries both the distinction of being the youngest player to ever win an MVP award, as well as the baggage of being one of the biggest disappointments a generation has seen. Although no fault of his own, Rose’s presence, at least to this point, has been a reminder to those that have watched that nothing is promised—not wealth, not happiness and certainly not health.

What makes Rose’s relocation to Minneapolis most interesting is that he will find himself reunited with former head coach Tom Thibodeau, as well as former teammates Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. In all of this, the most obvious question becomes whether or not Rose can actually help the Timberwolves continue to battle for one of the coveted playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Butler has emerged as the leader for the T-Wolves, but a right meniscus injury and subsequent surgery have left him sidelined for the foreseeable future. He should be able to return for the playoffs… assuming the T-Wolves qualify.

And within that uncertainty lies the opportunity for the still young Chicagoan.

Entering play on March 8, the T-Wolves are 38-28 and are clinging to the sixth seed in the Western Conference. They’re currently in the clump of eight teams vying for six spots. With just four losses separating the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers from the 10th-seeded Utah Jazz out West, one losing streak and the coughing up of a few games against other playoff hopefuls out West would be the difference between getting a shot at the postseason or counting lottery balls.

Whether or not Rose can give the T-Wolves anything at all may actually end up making a difference. It’s quite possible that a decent showing could help him restore some of his perceived value and could give him a shot at another opportunity past this season.

To be frank, the T-Wolves face a bit of an uphill climb. As one of the bubble teams in the NBA, they’ll be attempting to cross the finish line without their best player and while playing the 12th most difficult schedule, according to tankathon.com.

In it all, if there’s one reason to be optimistic about the prospect of Rose providing meaningful contributions to the T-Wolves, one could look at Lance Stephenson. With the Indiana Pacers, Stephenson became a vital cog on a conference contender. When he took his talents elsewhere, things happened to fall apart.

Since returning to Indiana, though with a different front office and head coach, he’s reverted. Somewhat similarly, one could look at Rajon Rondo. When Rondo departed from Boston, he struggled to find meaning and comfort with the Dallas Mavericks. Thought to be damaged good, he happened to lead the league in assists as soon as he found himself free from the confines of Rick Carlisle’s locker room.

At this point, based on his injury history with virtually every team he’s played for, there’s probably little reason to be optimistic about Rose and his ability to stay healthy enough to be relevant.

Still, though, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that often, when players find themselves in familiar situations or surrounded by those with whom they’ve enjoyed previous success… things tend to work themselves out.

When Derrick Rose suits up and is tapped by Thibodeau to enter his next game, perhaps he’ll have flashbacks of their time together in Chicago.

Maybe Rose can turn back the clock.

With Thibs, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson surrounding him, hopefully, for Rose’s sake, he can rediscover some of his past glory.

In Minnesota, they’ll certainly need him, so he’ll get his chance.

Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders.

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