MEMPHIS – As they have been at various times this season, the Timberwolves are short on point guards. With Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose out for the remainder of the season, the Wolves have only two healthy point guards for their remaining 10 games — Tyus Jones and Jerryd Bayless.
On Thursday against Charlotte, however, there were moments where neither was initiating the offense. Instead, that responsibility went to Andrew Wiggins.
It wasn’t the first time this season Wiggins has handled the ball, and over the final weeks of the season he will take on that role for a few minutes each game when Jones and Bayless are resting, interim coach Ryan Saunders said.
“We tried to do that where Andrew would get more opportunities to handle the ball,” Saunders said. “It’s definitely something we’re going to have to look at and see some things down the stretch here.”
Saunders said he liked the idea of involving Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns more in pick-and-roll situations to see how defenses would handle that combination.
“A lot of times you put two of your better offensive players in the pick-and-roll, defenses have to react to that,” Saunders said. “It’s going to be something moving forward should be a thought process for us.”
Wiggins said he was “comfortable” in the role.
“You’re just being patient, reading the defense and seeing what the best choice or the best thing would be to do the offensive play,” Wiggins said. “Just trying to get everyone involved and be the leader.”
Rose has surgery
Derrick Rose underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, the Wolves announced Saturday. Rose underwent the procedure, which was performed by Dr. Shawn O’Driscoll and Dr. Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo in collaboration with Wolves orthopedic surgeon Dr. Diane Dahm at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
The team had announced Thursday Rose would likely miss the rest of the season as he explored treatment options for his injured elbow. The Wolves said Rose would be out indefinitely and did not announce a recovery timetable for him, but Saunders said Rose’s recovery was not expected to be long term.
Saunders didn’t quite know how to feel Saturday morning in advance of Minnesota and Michigan State’s matchup in the NCAA tournament. Saunders is a U alumnus but is friends with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who was also good friends with Saunders’ late father, Flip Saunders.
It’s one thing when the teams meet in Big Ten play. It’s another when they meet and someone’s season is going to end.
“There is conflicting emotion,” Saunders said.
“My mom asked me about that last night. I just hope it’s a good game, and I wish both teams could win.”