Derrick Rose Encouraged Karl-Anthony Towns During Jimmy Butler Clashes

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  NOVEMBER:  Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves helps teammate Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves from the floor during the game against the Denver Nuggets on November 24, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jordan Johnson/Getty Images

Veteran point guard Derrick Rose helped Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns through his clashes with Jimmy Butler before the T'Wolves dealt Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers this season. 

In an interview with ESPN.com's Jackie MacMullan, University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari—who coached both Rose and Towns in college—said Rose was a major supporter of Towns and "got Karl through that whole Butler mess."

Calipari explained that the issues between Towns and Butler stemmed from the differences in their personalities:

"I bet that environment was so uncomfortable for him. First of all, he and Jimmy are totally different people—how they were brought up, their likes and dislikes, how they approach competition. You have one guy on this side and one guy on the other side. There was a dogfight, and Karl's not one to get into that. So, he stepped back.

[...]

"Things happen. There are power struggles all the time in [the NBA]. If a guy can bully you, he will bully you. And that's what Jimmy did to Karl. C'mon, that's the league."

Butler didn't agree with Calipari's outlook, and said that he intends to speak with the Wildcats' head coach about it:

"He can call me a bully, but when [Calipari] sees me, I'm gonna confront him about it. If I'm a bully, I'm gonna bully him, too. I'll tell him how I feel, just like I'd tell anyone else.

"I don't care if he's some big head coach. I'm not bullying nobody. I'm just keeping it real. Some of these guys aren't used to it. When you have as much talent as [Karl] has had throughout his life, guys don't keep it real with him. I do."

MacMullan also spoke to Rose, who made mention of a time when he used more constructive criticism to get the most out of Towns.

After a game in which Towns attempted only 10 shots, Rose told him that the team needed "more" out of him, and Rose was happy with how he responded: "He's so mindful of everything I've told him. So many young guys are stubborn, hard-headed. They know everything. KAT's not like that. He listens."

While Butler and Towns co-existed enough last season to get the Wolves to the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04, it was clear entering this season that something had to give.

Minnesota has struggled overall with a 21-23 mark, but since trading Butler in November, the Timberwolves are 17-14.

Towns is having a big year with 22.2 points 12.4 rebounds per game as the unquestioned go-to guy, and Rose is enjoying a resurgent season as well with 18.8 points and 4.8 assists per contest.

The T-Wolves may not be as talented now as they were with Butler, but they are just three games out of a playoff spot, and the harmonious combination of Towns and Rose may be capable of getting them back to the postseason.

Related

    Supporting Cast Proves Value Through Harden's Struggles

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Supporting Cast Proves Value Through Harden's Struggles

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Sixers, Nets Building NBA's Most Heated Rivalry 🔥

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Sixers, Nets Building NBA's Most Heated Rivalry 🔥

    Grant Hughes
    via Bleacher Report

    Blake Griffin (Knee) to Play Game 3

    Griffin will suit up vs. Bucks after first two games of series

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Blake Griffin (Knee) to Play Game 3

    Griffin will suit up vs. Bucks after first two games of series

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report

    Embiid (Knee) to Start Game 4 vs. Nets

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Embiid (Knee) to Start Game 4 vs. Nets

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report