Derrick Rose relearning his game in a new spot with the Wolves
LOS ANGELES It might seem like a small adjustment to make moving from point guard to shooting guard but to Derrick Rose, someone who has played the point his entire career, it can be akin to relearning the game of basketball.
My whole life I dribbled the ball, initiated the play and ended the play, Rose said. Now Im getting the ball in catch-and-shoot [positions] and just trying to change my whole mentality. this is the first time in my career that Im legitimately at the two.
Rose is entering his 10th season in one of the most tumultuous careers of anyone who has won an MVP award. And now at 29 years old, with Jimmy Butler vacating the two-guard position in the lineup, the Wolves are trying out Rose at that spot to see how a lineup with him and starting point guard Jeff Teague will mesh.
To Rose, the opportunity is equally tantalizing as it is challenging, a chance to revamp his game and find newer, creative ways to use his devastating slashing and driving capabilities to exact pressure on a defense and keep the Wolves one of the top offenses in the league.
For instance, when Teague handles the ball coming up the floor, it allows Rose to lie in wait as he does, conserving energy for optimal acceleration should he get the ball.
Its going to take time, but were both unselfish guards, Rose said. Jeff brought it up the majority [of Saturdays game against the Warriors] but when we got past half-court, he let me run the action some.
Thats what its about, sharing at times, compromising with one another and just trying to make a better team, facilitate and make everybodys job easier.
One facet of the offense under the dual-guard lineup is its ability to push the ball thanks to having multiple ballhandlers.
For his part, Teague wasnt concerned about how he and Rose would mesh together. Teague said his time in Atlanta required him to play off the ball as well.
We played more of a pass and cut type of offense, Teague said. We never had a point guard. So Im comfortable with it.
Rose has had to become comfortable with not being the focal point of the offense since the Bulls traded him to the Knicks after the 2015-16 season. In New York, Rose had to share the ball with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
I was the third option there, Rose said. I had to find ways to affect the game, just knowing K.P. and Melo were going to have the ball the majority of the time. I felt like I did all right.
Rose then smirked and gave a small chuckle when he added: I was in the triangle, and you know how that goes. It was tough.
Roses first effort playing a lot of minutes at the two-guard position went well Saturday against the Warriors when he scored 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting.
Like it was for Rose in New York, there are a lot of mouths to feed in the Wolves offense. Karl-Anthony Towns cant be an offensive afterthought, Teague likes to have the ball in his hands, while Andrew Wiggins needs to get his.
But the same was true when Butler was in the lineup instead of Rose. The true test of this lineup will be playing defense without Butler, one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. And the looming question with Rose is how long can he stay healthy?
But so long as he is, there might not be a drop-off in scoring from a team that finished fourth in offensive efficiency last season.
As Teague put it: When you start a pick-and-roll on one side and ends with one of the most explosive players weve seen ever on the other side, its a tough cover.