The Derrick Rose Knee Injury Blues

Bringing Derrick Rose to the Knicks in a trade that sent Robin Lopez to the Bulls was supposed to do two things at the same time. It was supposed to upgrade the point guard position from aging Jose Calderon and simultaneously 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 and so chemistry was always going to be an issue.

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. But six months later Rose is almost but not quite back to square one. Another knee injury, a torn meniscus, surgery date pending, the familiar Derrick Rose story.

It is the Derrick Rose carousel as if the basketball gods are mad at him for something. Torn ACL in the 2012 playoffs. Then torn meniscus. Now another torn meniscus.

Are the Knicks back to square one with Derrick Rose with both the Knicks and Rose in limbo? Rose is a free agent and would like to come back to New York but is he willing to take a significant pay cut from the $21 million he made this year?

Rose has had a good year. He is still a starting point guard in the league but questions about his efficacy revolve around his defense and his inability to drain a three point shot (21%). He will never be that MVP Rose, no more 21 point seasons in his future but the 18.0 points he gave the Knicks this year is the Derrick Rose redemption. So what is he really worth now?

Last year, Rose admitted he contemplated quitting. If ordinary people have bad days at work and want to walk away, Rose is entitled too. And the question has to be asked: when is enough going to be enough? When will Rose tire of the injury, surgery, rehab wheel turning round and round? It is more complicated this season because Rose is a free agent with his future up in the air, unable to get through a full season injury free. Add to that the heavy heat lorded upon the shoulders of  Phil Jackson with everyone with an opinion saying he should be fired.

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 they put together last summer. They did nothing to change minds.  An aging and average Joakim Noah injured again. A young and developing Kristaps Porzingis. A not in his prime Carmelo Anthony. A still can’t shoot Brandon Jennings who was cut loose. The adult in the room, Courtney Lee, overpaid.

And the former MVP Derrick Rose.

To be fair to Rose amid all the shade because he doesn’t look the same and it is hard to get the mental picture of who he used to be out of our collective heads, his efficiency shooting the ball is a 7 year high though his three ball is the worst it’s been in his 8 year career 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. 18.0 points a game is better than what the Knicks had hoped for. It’s his best point total during this injury matrix.

He is the 53rd ranked point guard (Real Plus-Minus). Last year he was 65th.

Rose can’t guard anyone anymore, another problem, ranked 82 out of 88 points guard (Defensive Real Plus-Minus). But neither can anyone else on the Knicks guard a paper bag so he is in good company.

B.J. Armstrong, Rose’s agent, will remind all suitors Rose can still drive to the rim and finish. How much is that worth?

Despite the prisoner of the moment texture, Rose and his broken knee 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 what is left in the season, these last few days, because really, what else is there to talk about besides lottery picks and Carmelo Anthony possibly waiving his no-trade clause.

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