Prior to the season few thought that Derrick Rose would stay healthy enough or be capable enough to do anything significant with the New York Knicks.
In a somewhat surprising trade with the Chicago Bulls this summer, the Knicks acquired the former NBA MVP in hopes of solving a point guard problem that has plagued the team for years. The much maligned Knicks have a history of bringing in high profile point guards to right the ship. We saw them trade for Stephon Marbury in 2004, Steve Francis in 2006, and Chauncey Billups in 2011. All of these moves didn’t do anything for long term success nor did they provide a steady floor general for the team to build around. This season, at least so far, has fans excited and thinking differently.
On Sunday night after missing two games for back spasms, Rose returned to deliver 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting to lead the Knicks to a 118-112 win over the upstart Los Angeles Lakers. New York (32-50 last season) is now 14-10 and has won 7 of their last 10 thanks in large part to Rose’s steady play and ability to balance the offense playing with future mega-talent Kristaps Porzingis and future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony.
At 46%, Rose is shooting his highest percentage since 2010 along with a healthy 4.6 assists per game along way to 17 points per game. During the game against the Lakers, Rose hit his first 8 shots putting on display his dazzling speed and patented floaters. It was a reminder of just how good the former All-Star and Olympian could be when healthy and rested.
Rose may never look the way he did during his MVP season, but he might not need to either.
Derrick Rose’s rebirth has given energy to a franchise and a city that has been on the butt end of NBA punchlines for nearly two decades. However, he is in the final year of his contract, and in case anyone missed it this past offseason, NBA guys are getting PAID. I do not envy Phil Jackson’s decision at the end of the season when it comes to his 28-year-old point guard. Should the Knicks make a run in the playoffs, perhaps keeping their exciting backcourt together (don’t forget Brandon Jennings!) would serve the team’s best interests.