Derrick Rose has begun his New York Knicks career with positive results, but needs to facilitate better for long term success.
“I want to play the rest of my life here.”
The words out of Derrick Rose’s mouth are music to the ears of Knicks fans. Once again, they have ascended to the enviable position of being a team that players actually want to play for. The Knicks have a young, budding superstar, a talented coach, and a world class city to market to every upcoming free agent.
However, with that being said, why would they keep Derrick Rose?
Certainly, Rose has been a solid player for the Knicks this season and is a massive upgrade over any guard they had on the roster last season, but there seems to be a massive disconnect between Derrick’s perceived value and his actual value with the Knicks. Currently, the last year on Rose’s contract will pay him $21.3 million. Additionally, he is eligible for a three-year extension worth $75 million on December 22, the six-month anniversary of his trade out of Chicago.
The Knicks should absolutely not give Rose that extension at that price.
Of all the NBA point guards, only Damian Lillard, Mike Conley, and Russell Westbrook make that type of money in 2017. Additionally, while he will be a free agent this offseason, there’s a reason to believe reigning MVP Steph Curry will also join that tier of elite point guards. However, there’s absolutely no reason to believe that Rose is anywhere close to that caliber of player.
After coming into the league as an elite scorer, Rose has slowly deteriorated over the course of his career. Gone are the days of averaging 20+ points per night, in favor of 16.4 ppg on 50.2% true shooting. That puts him right at the average mark for NBA point guards, with a number of other mediocre starters around the league.
However, the issue with Rose on the Knicks is that with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis on the team, the need for a really elite scorer is not a pressing need.
Consider this: the Knicks are 7-1 when Rose scores 15 or fewer points. When he scores more than 15, the team is just 2-8. Certainly, that does not tell the whole story of Rose’s impact, but it does reveal a confounding situation the Knicks need to address: New York needs Rose to become less of a scorer and more of a distributor.
Luckily for Knicks fans, Rose realizes this. In an interview with SLAM Magazine, Rose said, “Of course, I can’t play the same way I played in Chicago with this team, like coming out and firing right away. I’ll look dumb shooting all those shots I shot in Chicago with this team and with the talent we have with this team. It’s about being patient, taking our time and letting it all click.”
That’s good news for Knicks fans looking for their point guard to pass more and shoot less.
Unfortunately for Knicks fans, Rose hasn’t averaged more than 4.9 assists since his second knee surgery. While he still shows flashes of the incredible speed burst and explosiveness that contributed to his MVP season, Derrick has struggled to adjust to the fact that his level of elevation around the rim has diminished, making it much harder to finish the acrobatic layups and dunks that made him a phenom. If Rose can’t figure out a way to pass out to shooters when he’s driving to the hoop, the hopes of him staying in New York greatly dwindle.
Unless Rose is willing to take a massive pay cut, his time with the Knicks should likely come to an end after this season. In a thin point guard market, teams with cap room that are desperate for a guard will be willing to pay Derrick Rose, and his skill set is simply not that beneficial to the Knicks. For Knicks fans hopeful that they will keep Rose, his apparent attachment to New York provides a shred of optimism. However, at his current contract, it’s simply not worth the money for the Knicks to continue to pay him.