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Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Rose is showing flashes of a former MVP with the Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Rose
Could Derrick Rose contend for Sixth Man of the Year? Getty Images

You would think that a former MVP averaging his most points in seven years would be a bigger story. Yet for as well as Derrick Rose has played, he's been somewhat overshadowed given the circumstances this season in Minnesota.

Jimmy Butler's trade demand and subsequent fall out over the ensuing two months garnered most of the attention. Once the team finally traded him away to the Philadephia 76ers, the attention then shifted to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to see how they'd respond in the wake of the Butler saga.

Plugging along the entire time? Rose who has been a steady veteran hand and has guided the team with some eye-popping performances.

How about the 50 spot and game-saving block against the Jazz on Halloween?

Or the career-high seven 3-pointers he knocked down against LeBron James and the Lakers?

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Sure Not Now

If Rose keeps this up, he should be considered for either Sixth Man of the Year or Most Improved Player. Derrick Rose would join Bill Walton as the only players who won the MVP and then the Sixth Man of the Year. Similar to Rose, Walton had injuries set him back.

Rose would join even more select company if he won Most Improved Player as he'd be the only player to earn both honors.

Typing a former MVP's name in the same sentence as "Most Improved Player" is simply counterintuitive, but the reality is Rose has faced a series of issues and his recent surge brings up a number of "what if" conversations.

At 30, Rose has shown he still offers a competitive advantage on the court. Rose is still the youngest player to ever win MVP and at one point, there was no ceiling on where his talent could take him. Now Rose is on his fourth NBA team, a distinction shared by only four other MVPs.

Most Teams Played For by MVP
Teams
Moses Malone 7
Bob McAdoo 7
Shaquille O'Neal 6
Allen Iverson 4
Derrick Rose 4

Each of the aforementioned players has their own reasons for bouncing around and typically, the players with the most MVP hardware stayed in one or two spots for most of their careers.

Most NBA MVP Awards
MVPs Teams
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 6 2
Michael Jordan 5 2
Bill Russell 5 1
Wilt Chamberlain 4 3
LeBron James 4 3

Regardless of the number of MVPs or teams, every MVP who is eligible to be in the Hall of Fame is in. Every active player who has won an MVP seems to be on course to get into the Hall of Fame, except Rose. So what does Rose have to do?

Can Rose be the point guard version of Bill Walton, a former MVP with a prime ravaged by injuries remade as a veteran cog on a championship team?

Rose isn't back to his All-Star level of play yet but if he continues to progress, there's nothing holding him back from reaching his potential. The speed and ability to drive to the basket seem to be returning to form and playing over 30 minutes a game, he's certainly being given the opportunity.

Rose may not live up to the second coming of Michael Jordan in Chicago, but he could be the first Derrick Rose in Minnesota. Injuries are part of the game, an unfortunate reality that's in part come to define the second half of Rose's career.

But it's also a career that's suddenly re-ignited and looking far from finished, and he now has the chance to give every one that suffers an on-the-court setback reason to believe that there's always hope no matter how faint that flame might flicker.

Where Rose ends up amongst the all-time greats will be based on a lot of things out of his control. However, Minnesota offers Rose a young core and a coach who thinks he's still able to be one of the NBA's best.

Rose's recent career has been a waiting game. Waiting for him to get treatment for his injuries, waiting for him to be done with rehab, waiting for him to return to the lineup. Now the waiting game is waiting to see just how good a re-imainged Rose can be.

Whether he continues to grow back into a true leading floor general or plays the part as a one-two punch with Jeff Teague, Rose is out to prove that he's got a lot of basketball left.

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