Things have gone south in a hurry for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who sit at a terrible 4-8 while disgruntled All-Star Jimmy Butler continues to await a trade - having requested one back in September.
But one bright spot in an otherwise dismal season has been the resurgence of 30-year-old point guard Derrick Rose, who's starting to play like the man who won the league MVP seven years ago.
Rose - who had a career-high 50 points against the Utah Jazz last week - tuned in another fine performance in Wednesday's road contest with the Los Angeles Lakers. He made 11-of-17 field goal attempts and finished with 31 points and five assists on the evening.
The early resurgence of D-Rose has been one of basketball's finest stories thus far. But if you talk to Butler about it, he's not shocked about his long-time teammate from Chicago turning back the clock.
"I see him working everyday," Butler said, via Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press. "This doesn't surprise me at all. He's still a big-time player in this league, and now he's getting an opportunity to showcase that."
Rose won the 2011 NBA MVP award at age 22, leading the Bulls to the NBA's best record at 62-20. But during the 2012 playoffs, Rose suffered a torn ACL and had to miss the rest of the season, plus the entire 2012-13 campaign. He's never stayed healthy since, and Rose even contemplated retiring last season while he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But the decision to reunite with head coach Tom Thibodeau - whom he spent five seasons with in Chicago - has done wonders for Rose. He's stayed healthy thus far and is averaging 18.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. If Rose can continue this pace, it'll be his most productive season since 2011-12.
Of course, it's far too early in the season to really know if Rose will keep playing like this. But it's been one of the greatest stories in the young NBA season, and Rose has everybody behind him during this attempt at a resurgence.