The Derrick Rose Blues

Bringing Derrick Rose to the Knicks in a trade that sent Robin Lopez to Chicago was supposed to do two things at the same time. It was supposed to upgrade the point guard position from aging Jose Calderon and at the same time give the gifted though often injured Rose an opportunity to redeem his career. If the Rose baggage was just about injury the Knicks could have created a reasonable plan to go forward but in Chicago there was behind the scenes buzz of Rose and Jimmy Butler friction.

In a few cases, a change of scenery can do magical things for players who have been in a place too long and for Rose that was definitely the case. His hometown didn’t serve him well and Rose didn’t serve himself well.

The season started on a salacious note with Rose in a sexual assault case filed by his former girlfriend and when he was acquitted of all charges the page was turned. A breath of fresh air.

Are the Knicks back to square one with Derrick Rose with both the Knicks and Rose in limbo?

Rose didn’t show up to last night’s game. Let me put it another way. Rose took the night off because ______ . ¬†Everyone filled in the blanks. He was livid at the demotion against Milwaukee when he was replaced in the 4th quarter. He has personal issues that have affected his professional life and is in Chicago. He wants to force a trade.

But when Rose surfaced, as we knew he would, he has $21 million reasons to show his face, he expressed frustration/depression/angst about his basketball career. According to Rose, he even contemplated quitting. If ordinary people have bad days at work and want to walk away, Rose is entitled too. But he doesn’t have the right to go AWOL, to ignore communication from his bosses, to disregard his teammates. That points to a deeper Derrick Rose issue, one of selfishness.

What is very clear is that Rose’s lack of professionalism has him on thin ice in New York. The Knicks had been thinking long term because of Rose’s play but it’s hard to know what value Rose has now.

Value isn’t what the Knicks have been known for as of late. The team is doing exactly what many expected them to do with this combination of spare parts that don’t really fit. An aging and average Joakim Noah. A young and developing Kristaps Porzingis. A not in his prime Carmelo Anthony. A still can’t shoot Brandon Jennings. The adult in the room, Courtney Lee.

And the former MVP Derrick Rose.

To be fair to Rose amid all of this current turmoil, he has had a year better than most expected. His efficiency shooting the ball is a 6 year high though his three ball is the worst it’s been in seven years which is a problem in a league where point guards drain three point buckets. He has improved his offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding but his assists are mediocre. 17.3 points a game is better than what the Knicks had hoped for. It’s his second best point total during this injury matrix.

Rose can’t guard anyone anymore, another problem, but neither can anyone else on the Knicks so he is in good company. With Rose, the Knicks have a shot for an 8th seed. He can still drive to the rim and finish. Without Rose the Knicks are back in the lottery. So what do the Knicks do now?

At some point in his Monday misery, Rose could have contacted the Knicks.. It is what is required of employees, and that he didn’t follow through signals a lack of regard, not just for his team who had a game to plan and were depending on him, but for the organizational structure who went out on a limb for Rose. They trusted him and at least for one night there was a lack of reciprocity. In this age of social media and information traveling within seconds, he couldn’t have shot off a text? Of course he could. Or he could have instructed someone else to do so.

Derrick Rose can’t be the long term strategy for the Knicks going forward. His unreliability has suddenly overshadowed his health issues. Rose has been healthy all year and this is what he can bring to a team, 17 points, 5 assists, speed to the rim, a chip on his shoulder. All good. But you don’t know about the rest of it, when and if Rose will suddenly go AWOL like he did last night.

Despite the prisoner of the moment texture, Rose isn’t the biggest of the Knicks problems. But what to do with Derrick Rose is a persistent issue, like that scab that continues to itch and bleed. It will nag at the Knicks for the rest of the season and off-season and create the conclusion that Derrick Rose to the Knicks was not going to save the Knicks from purgatory.

Is anyone surprised? This is what happens when you gamble. You don’t always beat the house.


photo via llananba