Dec 22, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose (25) drives against Orlando Magic point guard D.J. Augustin (14) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Knicks want to bring back Derrick Rose for 2017-18 and beyond, it appears as though it’s going to cost a max contract. Should it happen?
The Derrick Rose saga has taken an unexpected and bizarre turn. The 2011 NBA MVP no-showed a recent game against the New Orleans Pelicans in order to make an unannounced trip to Chicago to be with his family.
Rose has performed well individually, however, which has inevitably beckoned the ultimate long-term question: should the New York Knicks re-sign the 28-year-old this coming offseason?
Rose is currently averaging 17.5 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 31.9 minutes per game. He’s doing so on a relatively efficient slash line of .450/.245/.855 and is committing fewer than three turnovers per game.
And then there is the potential price tag. Some close to Rose have told friends he will seek a max contract this summer. For Rose, that pact would be for five years and nearly $150 million.
That’s a decision to weigh for the next six months.
New York bordered on contending as recently as Christmas Day, but is in the midst of a horrific stretch of games. It’s lost eight of nine, with none more troubling or bizarre than the 110-96 loss to the Pelicans.
Having said that, Rose has been of great value to the Knicks during the 2016-17 NBA regular season.
To lose him in free agency would be tough, but multiple factors will go into determining whether or not he’s worth the cost.
The question for the Knicks will be: should the front office give Rose a max contract during the summer of 2017?
Dec 28, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) is defended by Atlanta Hawks forward Kris Humphries (43) during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Pro: Slashing Ability
The New York Knicks have been in dire need of a point guard who can consistently create penetration. The absence of said player was the difference between success and failure in 2015-16, which is why the acquisition of Derrick Rose made sense.
If the New York Knicks need a reason to bring Rose back for the 2017-18 season and beyond, the obvious answer is his ability to consistently get to the rim.
Rose ranks in the Top 5 in the NBA in points via drives per game during the 2016-17 regular season. He’s achieved that status by finishing with power, creativity, and efficiency—a unique combination for a player at his position.
With a field goal percentage that’s well above 50 percent on drives, there’s no rational way to dispute his value as a slasher.
Rose is still working on other aspects of his game, but he’s an outstanding slasher who can transform an offense. His ability to get to the rim forces a defense to collapse, thus enabling shooters to find openings along the perimeter.
Rose needs to become better at recognizing the opportunities to facilitate off of the penetration he creates and the opportunities that result.
Jan 7, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) shoots the ball while Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) defends in the second quarter of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Con: Offensive Limitations(?)
As previously alluded to, the New York Knicks may have to give Derrick Rose a max contract. If New York choses to hand a $150 million contract to Rose, it would be giving up a vast majority of its cap space.
That alone is reason to be skeptical, especially when one considers the fact that Rose has yet to establish a consistent offensive role.
Rose is a genuinely elite dribble penetrator, but he’s bordered on being without value when playing off-ball. His midrange game is improving, but his outside shot ranks amongst the worst in the NBA and that alone hurts New York’s spacing.
Rose is currently shooting just 24.5 percent from 3-point range and has just 12 3-point field goals made in 34 appearances.
It’s also worth noting that, even as an exceptional slasher who collapses defenses, Rose has struggled to facilitate. He’s averaging 0.6 assists via drives per game and 5.0 assists per 36 minutes—both of which are legitimate flaws.
True as that all may be, it’s imperative to note that Rose has improved his midrange game and claimed he’d be turning his attention to his 3-point shot before the playoffs.
Time will tell if he succeeds in the latter capacity.
Dec 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) dribbles the ball while being defended by Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
One could make an argument that the biggest issue for the New York Knicks over the past three seasons has been a lack of continuity. Only Carmelo Anthony and Lance Thomas remain from the 2014-15 roster, and only five players made it from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
The Knicks have endured constant turnover, which makes bringing Rose back for another season a potentially beneficial move for team morale.
New York has three new starters, a new sixth man, and a new head coach. Rose and Joakim Noah played for the Chicago Bulls in 2015-16, Courtney Lee played for the Charlotte Hornets, Brandon Jennings was a member of the Orlando Magic, and Jeff Hornacek coached the Phoenix Suns.
In total, 10 of the 15 players on the Knicks’ 2016-17 roster didn’t play for the team during the 2015-16 regular season.
Having established that, it would be beneficial to the Knicks’ long-term vision to stabilize the point guard position. If Rose proves to be the answer, bringing him back for multiple seasons would enable New York to avoid yet another training camp with new faces and nonexistent chemistry.
Here’s the asterisk to place on this pro: if Rose doesn’t prove to be worth $150 million, then continuity isn’t a good enough reason to give him the contract.
Dec 28, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek (left) is restrained by guard Derrick Rose (25) after reacting to a call during the game against the Atlanta Hawks during the overtime at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Knicks 102-98 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Con: Injury History
Derrick Rose has maintained a relatively clean bill of health during the 2016-17 NBA regular season. That’s an encouraging sign for the future, but it doesn’t exactly clear him of the health concerns that will inevitably be weighed and discussed.
If the New York Knicks are going to give a five-year contract to Rose, then they must acknowledge Rose’s checkered injury history.
Rose infamously tore his left ACL during the 2012 NBA Playoffs, but he missed 27 games during the 2011-12 regular season. He proceeded to miss all 82 games during the 2012-13 regular season and played in just 72 games in 2013-14.
Rose returned to relatively good health in 2014-15, but still missed 31 games during an otherwise solid regular season.
Rose missed 16 more games in 2015-16, but he deserves credit for playing in 66 games. He’s appeared in 34 of the Knicks’ 39 games in 2016-17, and one of the five absences was the product of a family issue.
Rose has made tremendous progress from a physical perspective, but giving out a five-year contract will require the Knicks to measure the inherent risks.
Dec 14, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; LA Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The X-Factor: The Stacked 2017 PG Class
There are reasons to believe the New York Knicks should bring Derrick Rose back, just as there are reasons to believe they shouldn’t. What shouldn’t be disputed, however, is that New York should relinquish his cap hold.
During the summer of 2017, the class of free agent point guards projects to be one of the deepest and most star-studded in NBA history.
The big names hitting the open market will be Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, and Kyle Lowry. All three have been named All-NBA. Curry is a two-time MVP, Paul has eight All-NBA and eight All-Defensive Team selections, and Lowry is the best player on the most dominant team in the Atlantic Division.
Even beyond those three stars, the class of 2017 has intriguing depth and a number of starting-caliber players for New York to consider.
In alphabetical order, the likes of George Hill, Jrue Holiday, Shaun Livingston, Patty Mills, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, and Jeff Teague will be free agents. One can add current Knicks sixth man Brandon Jennings to that list.
Thus, for as intriguing a possibility as it may be to bring Rose back, it’d be asinine to not at least explore the options in free agency.