Derrick Rose is the New York Knicks’ starting point guard, but Brandon Jennings may look to force a difficult decision going forward.The New York Knicks have had their fair share of issues during the last decade. One issue that stands out has been the point guard position. This past offseason, New York went out and upgraded probably the most important position on a basketball court.
Derrick Rose was acquired in an offseason trade with the Chicago Bulls and Brandon Jennings was signed to a one-year contract during free agency.
Rose was brought in to be the starter, while Jennings was signed to be his backup and insurance policy in case of an injury. Rose has missed 119 games in just the last three seasons.
As the season continues to move forward, the fine line between starter and backup is becoming quite blurry.
The line actually started to become blurry from the beginning.
Rose played in the Knicks’ first preseason game and then missed the final five preseason games due to a civil trial that he was a part of in Los Angeles. Jennings filled in as the starter in his absence. Rose returned just before the regular season started and resumed his role as Knicks starting point guard.
There are some similarities between the two players. Both of them are playing in their eighth NBA season. They are both playing on one-year contracts, using this year to show that they are healthy to position themselves for a long-term contract. Both players possess the ability to penetrate and attack the basket.
The difference is how they are finishing when they get to the rim. Rose is converting on 58.1 percent of his shots within three feet of the basket. Jennings, on the other hand, is only connecting on 43.5 percent of those shots.
Rose is a score-first point guard while Jennings looks to get his teammates involved first. In 13 games this season, Rose is averaging 15.6 points, 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.1 turnovers in 31.2 minutes per game. Jennings is averaging 6.9 points, 4.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 turnovers in 21.5 minutes per game.
They are averaging a similar amount of assists per game despite Jennings playing about ten fewer minutes per game. The numbers look to favor Jennings when you compare their per 36 minutes numbers. Rose would be averaging 5.4 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 turnovers and 0.6 steals per game. All of those would be below the numbers Jennings would put up — 8.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 turnovers and 1.4 steals.
The only category that Rose would be ahead in is scoring, 17.6 to 11.5.
For the first time in recent history, the Knicks find themselves with a good problem at the point guard position. Two very good players are competing for minutes on the court.
Make no mistake, Derrick Rose is currently the New York Knicks starting point guard. Based on the numbers, though, Jeff Hornacek may have no choice but to hand over the keys to the car to Jennings. If not by starting then at least with more minutes off the bench.