MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Derrick Rose proclaims himself an introvert. You won’t find him on Instagram or any social media platform.
You especially won’t find him campaigning for a spot in the NBA All-Star Game. Thankfully, he’s currently letting his play do the talking for him. NBA fans love him for it. The veteran guard, now in his 13th season, was candid and emotional when asked about the potential of playing in this year’s All-Star Game.
Rose is currently second in voting among Western Conference guards with nearly 700,000 votes. He’s second only to Steph Curry, one of the most popular players in the league.
“That’s touching, man. Very touching. It just shows you that love trumps hate any day, all day. To be in this position, I got here being myself, expressing how I feel and being honest,” Rose said. “If anything, the reason why I’m going right now is for the people that feel left out, misunderstood, outcasts, the rebels. That’s the reason I’m going now and people can relate to it.”
Rose added, “I don’t sell myself to people. It’s just not me, that’s not my character. I don’t have an Instagram, I don’t have any of that. It just comes from me being in people’s minds and for some reason, people really care.”
Rose has plans to take a week-long vacation during the NBA All-Star break in mid-February. Those plans may have to change if the voting trends hold. The All-Star Game starters for each team will be announced on Jan. 24. Reserves will be announced a week later.
It sure sounded Friday like Rose would take part in the weekend if selected to go.
“Not only would I appreciate it, but my family and my kids would appreciate it. My son would be able to go to all the functions, my baby girl would be able to experience it a little bit,” Rose said. “It would be great.”
Rose has played in all but five games this season, and with 11 starts, has also embraced a role off the bench for the Timberwolves. He’s averaging nearly 19 points per game and is putting up numbers similar to when he was in the prime of his career.
He’s shooting 48.6 percent from the field, including 46.2 percent from the perimeter. More importantly, be brings an energy to the Timberwolves off the bench that’s contagious for his teammates. They’ve needed his 29.8 minutes per game this season.
“It’s so amazing, everyone counted him out. I told you guys he was going to be vintage D-Rose this year and he’s been nothing but that, plus some,” Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns said. “He’s been amazing this whole year, such a great story. His work ethic has shown through his play. We’re all witnesses to greatness every single night D-Rose gets to lace up his shoes and play.”
Rose has battled injuries most of his career, most notably missing all of the 2012-13 season with a torn ACL. He played in a total of 25 games last year between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Timberwolves. He wondered at times if he would ever return to the potential he had after being named the NBA Rookie of the Year in the 2008-09 season and earning the MVP award in 2011. He helped lead that Chicago Bulls squad to 62 wins and the Eastern Conference Finals.
Tom Thibodeau, his coach then and now, has an appreciation for both his popularity around the league and the way he carries himself with the Timberwolves.
“He’s been around and had a lot of great moments in the league so I think to see him come back the way he has, there’s an appreciation for it,” Thibodeau said.
Rose is unlikely to play Friday night as the Timberwolves host the Orlando Magic. He’s listed as questionable with a right ankle sprain and said he’s taking it day-to-day with how he feels.
Thibodeau said Friday morning Jeff Teague will return to the starting lineup after making time with left ankle inflammation. In more concerning news, Robert Covington is out for an extended period after suffering a bone bruise in his right knee at New Orleans.
Since coming to the Timberwolves as part of the Jimmy Butler trade, Covington has averaged 13.3 points per game and become an energy player on the defensive side of the ball.
“On the court, it’s a big blow for our team. He’s a great defensive player obviously but the energy, character and the pure passion he brings to the game for us is contagious,” Towns said. “It’s just more of us having to pick up his load.”
Entering Friday night’s game, the Timberwolves (17-21) are four games behind the L.A. Lakers for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference Playoffs. They have six of their next eight games at home after playing nine of their last 13 on the road. They went 4-9 in that stretch.
“Now this is an opportunity for someone else to step in. That’s the way you have to look at it. We have more than enough, we just gotta get it done,” Thibodeau said.