The New York Knicks are reportedly interested in re-signing Derrick Rose mid-season. These are the pros and cons of extending the polarizing point guard.
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Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) reacts after making a shot against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center. The Knicks won 117-104. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Knicks have received a pleasant surprise in the form of starting point guard Derrick Rose. Though he was expected to play well, few knew he had this level of explosiveness left in the tank after the injuries he endured.
As a result of his resurgent play, it’s been reported that the Knicks are considering re-signing Rose mid-season.
Rose is currently averaging 16.8 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.4 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game. He’s doing so on a slash line of .438/.259/.885, has played all 17 games, and is committing just 2.7 turnovers per contest.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, the Knicks are considering re-signing Rose mid-season, although they are willing to pay him more during the offseason.
According to an NBA source, the Knicks have not approached Rose about an extension, but have not ruled it out for late in the season. The Knicks apparently want to make sure his body holds up across a full season and would be willing to pay more this summer if they had to.
That’s a lot of information that needs to be broken down piece-by-piece.
New York sees an opportunity to secure its future by re-signing Rose mid-season. Allowing this information to be released makes some measure of sense, but there’s an aspect that doesn’t quite add up.
Why exactly would the Knicks pull their own negotiating power by informing Rose and the public that they’d be willing to pay more money this summer?
By letting that piece of information fly loose, the Knicks would lose the opportunity to play the market and request a hometown discount. Nevertheless, it’s entirely possible that New York will make an offer to Rose mid-season.
The question is: what would the pros and cons be of Phil Jackson and the Knicks potentially re-signing Rose?
Nov 22, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) drives to the basket past Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless (4) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Pro: Explosive Slashing Ability
Derrick Rose should be unable to create penetration or move with elite speed or agility. He’s endured severe knee injuries, had trouble with his ankles and feet in 2011-12, and has been forced to miss a steady stream of games over the past five seasons.
Nevertheless, Rose remains one of the most explosive athletes in the NBA, as well as one of its most dynamic slashers.
Rose is currently No. 12 in the NBA with an average of 10.5 drives per game. He’s No. 5 in the Association with an average of 8.5 points via drives per game and is shooting 55.4 percent on drives—higher than any other player in the Top 5.
Rose still has the uncanny ability to break his man down off the bounce, get into the paint, and finish through contact. There are few players who do it as effectively as he, no matter how many injuries he’s endured.
The Knicks’ offense was desperate for an elite slasher and Rose has provided it with one. Bigger than any numbers is the fact that he’s saved New York from offensive ineptitude throughout this season.
Nov 14, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) drives to the basket past Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Con: Injury History
Derrick Rose has played in all 17 of the New York Knicks’ games during the 2016-17 NBA regular season. That alone is reason to believe that he can overcome his past and continue to play at a high level while leaving his injuries behind him.
For as promising as the past three seasons have been—2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17—it’s hard to ignore what Rose’s knees have been through.
Rose played 51 games in 2014-15, 66 in 2015-16, and has appeared in all 17 regular season games in 2016-17. That’s an upward trend that implies he’s put his health issues behind him, and his explosiveness supports that belief.
One can’t help but remain cautious and skeptical, however, as Rose has been through the ringer as far as knee injuries are concerned.
Rose infamously tore the ACL in his left knee in 2012, but that followed toe, back, and groin injuries that sidelined him for 27 games that season. Rose tore the meniscus in his other knee in 2013, tore it again in 2015, and suffered an orbital fracture later that year.
Rose looks better from a physical perspective than he has in any season since he won MVP, but ignoring his injury history will be tough for any team to do.
What makes Derrick Rose popular is his ability to do the unimaginable when driving the lane or getting out in transition. What makes Rose special, however, is his proven ability to step up in high-pressure situations.
By all means and measures, Rose is a clutch performer who wants the big shot and has a track record of making it.
Knicks fans have received look after look at how comfortable Rose is with handling the ball in clutch situations. He’s made a number of big shots in the final moments of close games, including a step-back jumper that sealed a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
For those who missed it, Rose did the following against Portland:
On the other end, Rose blocked Kemba Walker’s attempt at a game-tying shot at the end of a 113-111 overtime victory against the Charlotte Hornets.
Rose has been clutch throughout the 2016-17 season, whether he’s been heralded for it or not. That’s reason to keep him in New York, as the Knicks are a team that are playing for postseason success and not mere regular season glory.
With 41 games of postseason experience and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance under his belt, Rose has proven capable of winning when it counts.
Nov 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) shoots a free throw during the third quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 113-111. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Con: Erratic Jump Shot
The key to the success of a motion offense is being able to hold the opposition accountable for lackadaisical defense. Creating penetration is the most efficient way to score, but being able to knock down open shots is vital to creating space.
For as sensational as Rose is at attacking off the bounce and finishing at the rim, he’s been just as poor at knocking down open jump shots.
Rose is currently shooting 25.9 percent on 3-point field goal attempts and 35.5 percent on 62 midrange shot attempts. He’s passing up open jump shots for drives to the lane, which may work, but also complicate what should be an easy possession.
Rose’s inability to knock down the 3-ball has hurt his individual game and occasionally stunted the growth of New York’s offense. He doesn’t need to be Stephen Curry, but he must be able to keep the defense honest if his dribble penetration is to maintain its value.
Rose is a career 81.5 percent free throw shooter who’s shooting 88.5 percent in 2016-17, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s erratic from midrange and beyond the arc.
There have been times in 2016-17 where Derrick Rose has looked the part of a genuinely elite playmaker. Between his ability to create for himself and his proficiency as a passer, Rose has the tools to take over a game.
The question is: can Rose discover the consistency as a facilitator that he’s been unable to find over the past three seasons?
Rose is currently averaging 4.9 assists per game overall and 5.1 assists per game over his past 10 appearances. He’s No. 17 in passes made per game, but is No. 31 in potential assists—a measurement of the number of passes a player makes that lead to scoring opportunities.
Rose is more than willing to play without the ball and help as a decoy, but he needs to be more consistent in the scoring opportunities he creates for his teammates.
Rose is Top 5 in the NBA in points via drives per game, which implies what’s true: defenses often collapse because of his drives. His ability to score shouldn’t be eliminated, but he must be more willing to utilize those opportunities to set his teammates up with accurate passes.
Running more pick and roll would help Rose, but he must also recognize the opportunities to facilitate without having a play run directly for him.