Derrick Rose… future 6th Man of the Year?

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Derrick Rose… future 6th Man of the Year?

Erik Hultgren, Senior Reporter

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For the first time since the 2010-11 NBA season, Derrick Rose is a legitimate candidate for one of the NBA’s five end of the season awards.

Following his unfortunate knee injury during the beginning of the 2012 playoffs, Rose’s career has largely been defined by his sporadic health rather than his undeniable talent. However this year—-suiting up for the Minnesota Timberwolves rather than his hometown Chicago Bulls—-Rose has finally found the consistency that has been evading him since 2012.

Thriving in an off-the-bench role for the first extended period of his career, Rose has achieved widespread acclaim for his high-scoring efforts and improved three-point shooting.

In addition to this, despite starting the season as a 34-1 long shot to take the award home, Rose is now FanDuels betting favorite at -145 to win the 6th Man of the Year award. While Rose is more accustomed to being a featured player on offense, the thirty-year-old former MVP has embraced a smaller role off of the bench, and thrived while doing so.

“I would like winning sixth man of the year. I don’t think that’s anything bad to say or a bad goal with me coming off the bench.” Rose said in December, “I want to be the best bench player. It’s just how I feel. If anything I think it’d help the team.”

Not many expected Rose to have such a dramatic bounce-back season, but for the former rookie of the year and three-time All-Star, the development was hardly a surprise.

He has also demonstrated that despite his past individual successes, he is willing to take a back seat in order to help his team win. So far, this strategy is working well for both Rose and the Timberwolves.

Eight seasons after becoming the youngest MVP in league history, Rose is averaging his highest scoring output since 2012: eighteen points per game. This goes along with 4.3 assists per game, and field goal percentages even better than those from his MVP year.

The highlight of Rose’s comeback season likely came in a signature Halloween performance versus the Utah Jazz. Dropping a career high fifty points on nineteen of thirty-one shooting to go along with six assists, Rose lead the Wolves to a nail-biting 128 to 125 victory.

With his fifty-point explosion, Rose put the league on notice- making a statement that he was back and still capable of performing like the Rose of 2011 and 2012.

With less than a fifth of the season remaining and six games separating them from the Western Conference eighth and final seed, Minnesota and Rose’s season is likely to end just short of a playoff berth. However for Rose, the season has undoubtedly represented a personal victory lap.

Having proven that he is still capable of balling with the best—-even if in a smaller role—- Rose should be able to reflect on his 2018-19 with great pride, regardless of whether or not it ends with an award.

After being traded, waived, disregarded, and counted out time and time again, Rose has bloomed once again.

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