There is no controversy for the New York Knicks at point guard this year. Kemba Walker will start and Derrick Rose will come off the bench.
There are question marks surrounding the New York Knicks as they enter training camp. Who would start at point guard was not one of them. The expectation was always that Kemba Walker would start at point guard and Derrick Rose confirmed that on Monday.
During his availability during Knicks Media Day, Rose put to bed any questions about who would start.
“[Kemba Walker is] starting, he’s starting,” Rose said to reporters. “Whatever it takes to just change the game. I’m not worried about minutes or playing time. I know Thibs is gonna handle that. But I feel like we have a deep team.”
The former MVP expanded on the addition of Walker to the Knicks. It’s safe to say he’s pretty excited to play the role of understudy while Kemba leads.
“I played against him in high school, in the Garden. We lost to him,” Rose admitted. “He’s always been a grimy, feisty, New York guard, always being competitive. He’s a dog. Having him on the team — who wouldn’t want Kemba on their team? You would be a fool not to.”
For the first time in years, the Knicks are going into the regular season with confidence in their point guard unit. New York has been in search of stability at the position after years and years of starting guys like Ramon Sessions, José Calderón, Jarrett Jack, Elfrid Payton, Shane Larkin, Langston Galloway, and the list goes on.
Walker and Rose aren’t coming in as sure-fire stars. Both players have dealt with injury issues that can keep them down and they are both on the wrong side of 30. In fact, just last season Walker was kept out of back-to-backs by the Boston Celtics as a precautionary move.
Suffice to say, Tom Thibodeau does not plan to follow those same precautions. His long coaching career has shown us that he doesn’t believe in holding back on his players and this Knicks roster doesn’t seem to mind. Rest days and load management are not in Thibodeau’s vocabulary.
That is part of the reason why Rose is so important this year. If he can build on his impressive half-season with the Knicks last year, it will take tons of pressure off of Walker. If the pair splits 48 minutes somewhat evenly on a night-to-night basis, that bodes well for the long-term health of this backcourt.
Again, we know that Thibs is willing to push his guys to their physical limits. He won’t have to if Walker and Rose are both playing at a high level. Thibs tends to lean on his starters when he loses faith in the backups.
So, there will be no controversy for the Knicks at point guard. Walker will start and Rose is happy to come off the bench. Ironically enough, Rose seems as happy as anyone that the Knicks added Kemba to the mix.
But it wasn’t just D-Rose who rolled out the red carpet for Walker on Monday. RJ Barrett introduced “Mr. New York” to the media.
RJ with the perfect introduction for Kemba Walker 😂 pic.twitter.com/DydfKDWO9m
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) September 27, 2021