Kevin Garnett had a strange take on who should start at point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves, choosing neither Jeff Teague nor Tyus Jones.
The big man, who played for Minnesota from 1995 until 2007 and then again from 2015 until 2016, believes the starting role should be given to Derrick Rose instead (via ScoopB.com):
“You know, you get older, but the knowledge don’t go anywhere. He’s more crafty now than ever in the pick-and-roll. He’s able to get shots for guys and he’s able to knock shots down, so yeah, I would [start Rose].”
The 2011 NBA MVP started seven of the 16 total games he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers before he eventually landed back with his former head coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota last season.
Rose played just nine games with the Timberwolves during the regular season and five in the playoffs. He did not start any of those contests. This was a huge change of pace for Rose because prior to last season, Rose had been a starter for every game he played since March of 2009.
Given Garnett’s knowledge of the game, however, we decided to look into what starting Rose would look like. Minnesota outscored opponents by 12.4 points per 100 possessions during the 76 minutes that Rose shared the court with Karl-Anthony Towns. During the postseason, they had a 22.6 net rating when Rose played alongside Towns and Jimmy Butler.
Last season, Rose averaged 21.1 points and 4.1 assists per 36 minutes when he played alongside Towns. But when Towns was not on the floor, Rose was able to produce just 14.9 points and 2.9 assists per 36.
Thibodeau could also consider a smaller lineup with Rose and Teague as the two guards with Butler and Andrew Wiggins in the frontcourt and Towns as the big man. This would have Taj Gibson and Tyus Jones as options off the bench.
For comparison, however, Teague has done fairly well when playing without Towns. He averaged 20.6 points per 36 during the time the former No. 1 pick was not on the court. But his scoring dropped to just 14.4 points per 36 when Teague shared time with Towns. Teague is potentially far more capable of leading the second unit than Rose.
It will be fascinating to see what the former MVP looks like in his first full season reunited with Thibs and Co. in Minnesota, especially since he’s completely healthy. While he’s unlikely to get starting minutes, it’s an interesting thought presented by Garnett.