Chicago, IL –
When the Knicks moved in the off-season to acquire Derrick Rose, the move was widely panned as the Knicks over-reaching to try and win a championship six years in the past. As a Knicks fan, I recognize these as valid critiques which ride on the shoulders of Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby, Chauncy Billups, Tracy McGrady, etc. However, Rose is different.
Through roughly a third of the NBA season, the Knicks are sitting at 15-13, primed to compete for a playoff spot in a weak Eastern Conference. While 1-3 without Rose in the line-up, the Knicks have registered a noticeable uptick with the Memphis standout on the court. Rose gives the Knicks the explosive penetration and bona fide point guard which they have lacked in recent memory. So the question is this; could Derrick Rose’s best years in the NBA be ahead of him?
Derrick Rose is a phenom. The type of athleticism and aggression he brings to the game are rarely seen. The big question with Rose is his health, so can he stay healthy? I think he can. Rose has worked through numerous ailments to get back to basketball’s biggest stage, and it would be hard to believe that he hasn’t gained any knowledge of his physical limitations along the way. Through his rehabs Rose has learned not only how to strengthen those areas which has betrayed him, but also how to work to prevent future injuries. Additionally, Rose will not be used in the way he was when he was league MVP for the Bulls. All of this points to a healthy Rose moving forward.
But Mickey, if he’s trying not to get hurt, how could he possibly play his best ball on the Knicks? I’m not saying he’ll ever ball like he did in ’11, I’m saying his best years could be ahead of him. Rose has learned to work within his limits and contribute to the team. He’s still an above-average point guard, and with Porzingis stepping up, Rose could find he still has some run left.
Rose has his best years ahead of him. While the transition has been rocky, Phil Jackson is finally seeing his team come together. Porzingis is dodging the sophomore slump while Melo is (maybe) getting better at taking the back seat. Brandon Jennings is proving a canny off-season pick-up while foreigners Kuzminskas and Hernangomez are showing a hustle which has been absent too long from MSG. In Chicago, Rose was asked to shoulder the world, and did briefly, but eventually succumbed to the strain. New York presents a more mature Rose with the chance to dominate, and that’s a chance I believe he’ll capitalize on. Rose may not ever regain is ’11 form, but with his hard-won knowledge and a resurgent Knicks franchise he will experience his greatest success in blue and orange. This Rose has finally found the right soil.