The standard line when trying to explain the rather incredible season Timberwolves reserve guard Derrick Rose is having has revolved around health. As in Rose’s season can be traced to the offseason when — not saddled with rehabbing some injury for the first time in years — he was actually able to get into a gym and work on his game.
This is true. To a point.
The ever-quotable Rose was at it again Monday morning, after the Wolves’ morning shootaround preparing for their game against Houston at Target Center. Yes, he said, he was able to get a lot of work in and a lot of shots up over the summer. But that’s only part of it.
Just as important, Rose said, is the confidence to transfer all that work into game situations, and the knowledge that his game had to change in an evolving league.
First, the confidence. “You can go in the gym and shoot 1,000 shots, or thousands of shots,” Rose said. “But if you don’t go out there and actually do it in a game, what’s the point of working out?”
Rose said he had a friend in high school who spent hours in the gym developing his skills. But, come game time, it never transferred. “He’d revert back to not shooting,” Rose said. “Ever since then I told myself, I wasn’t going to become that player, where I work on my game only in the gym.”
An NBA Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Rose was held scoreless for the first time this season Monday, but he is still averaging 18.4 points per game, his highest in six years. His 49.8 percent shooting is a career best. Most striking is his emergence as a three-point shooter, making a career-best 1.7 threes per game and shooting 48.7 percent.
This is something, Rose said, he needed to do.
“Every act reinvents themselves,” he said. “No matter if it’s entertainment, in the sports world, musicians, whatever. Every great act reinvents themselves. And that’s what I’m doing this year.”
People are noticing. Rose said he’s seeing double-teams much more often. “They’re double-teaming me off the bench,” he said. “That’s something I never would have thought of, a player coming off the bench and getting double-teamed.”
When the Gophers women’s basketball team plays host to Incarnate Word on Wednesday, it will be an opportunity for a little family reunion for Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins’ sister Angelica is a junior guard for Incarnate Word. She and her family moved to the Twin Cities when Wiggins came to the Wolves via trade before his first season. She finished her high school career at Hopkins High School, spent two years at Moberly (Mo.) Area Community College before accepting a scholarship to the San Antonio-based Incarnate word.
Through eight games she’s averaging 7.6 points and 3.1 rebounds.
“She’s very happy to get the opportunity to play in Minnesota again,” Wiggins said. “My family gets to see her. They’ll all be there.”
Well, not all. The Gophers and Wolves both play Wednesday, but the Gophers are a noon start. Adhering to his game-day ritual will keep Andrew Wiggins away from the game. But the family should get together Tuesday night.
One ex-Bulls coach to another
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau on the Chicago Bulls’ decision to part ways with coach Fred Hoiberg: “It’s a tough business. I hate to see that for anyone. It’s one of the bad parts about the business, when you see a coaching change. And so, Fred’s a good man, and of course we wish him well going forward.”