Before we get into the NBA regular season, which starts Wednesday for the Wolves, or get too deep (again) in the now four-weeks-old Jimmy Butler trade talks, let’s pause for a moment and appreciate the candor displayed by veteran guard Derrick Rose during his session with reporters on Monday.
Rose has played with Butler and under coach Tom Thibodeau before, both in Chicago and last year with the Wolves. He’s a veteran who has bounced around lately and seen a lot of situations. He’s here on a one-year contract.
All of these things added up to some refreshing honesty out of Rose — not necessarily controversial statements but a frank assessment, for better or worse, of where things stand after a very strange month.
Rose was asked if the Wolves — who struggled through a 1-4 preseason with Butler sitting out — will be able to change their course when the real games start.
“I think so. But … I’ve been on teams that we won — what it used to be eight preseason games? — we won seven of ’em and a had a (bad) year. And we had preseason where we won one or two games and had a great year. It’s all about what you take out of it,” Rose said. “As long as you personally as a player are out there playing hard and you’re doing what you supposed to do that’s for the betterment of the team. Everybody’s not gonna have that chemistry right now. It’s gonna take time, period.”
Other Wolves players have said practices have been intense since Butler returned, but they tended to also say practices were also high-energy without Butler. When I asked him if practice was different now that Butler has returned, Rose again was honest.
“Of course. The intensity of practice changed with talkin’ (trash) to one another,” Rose said. “I mean, that’s what you need. Even when he did the thing the first day when he came back everybody else was probably shook but I played with Joakim (Noah) and Taj (Gibson). Taj was with the second unit most of the times when I was in Chicago so they used to talk (trash) all the time. And we were used to it. If anything we need that energy and we need that intensity.”
When asked how Thibodeau has handled tough situations in the past, Rose said this: “I mean it’s rare to get a reaction out of him. Especially one with everything going on. He’s been in this position for two or three years to try and control the front office or whatever. … It doesn’t seem like it’s bothering him much. He’s more concerned with how hard we’re playing when we’re out there. That’s his biggest concern: he just wants guys to play hard.”
And finally, in regards to where the Wolves are chemistry-wise at this point, Rose was perhaps most honest of all.
“I mean we got room for growth. We don’t even have an identity of how we’re going to play offensively and defensively, so you just gotta build those things along the way,” he said. “But every day when we come in here you have to get your job done, get your body right, get your personal workout in. We all know it’s going to take some time. It’s going to take all of us being on the same team and fighting through the hard times together.”