New York Knicks: Derrick Rose Will Be An All-Star This Year

Feb 21, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) brings the ball up court against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 21, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) brings the ball up court against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Derrick Rose finished last season on a torrid pace, which has some wondering: Can he return to All-Star form with the New York Knicks?

Now that Derrick Rose is the new starting point guard for the New York Knicks, he’s expected to be the catalyst to this new and exciting offense. Knicks fans are hoping the former MVP can return to similar form and lead New York back to the playoffs.

With a coaching staff that encourages uptempo play and a slew of talented players around him, I predict Rose will be an All-Star again this year.

Rose’s injuries have been well-documented, but rumors of his demise and overall health have long been exaggerated. Last season was a tale of two halves: before the All-Star Break and after the All-Star break.

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Rose played in 66 games, but he fractured his cheek in training camp, forcing him to wear a protective mask to start the season. With double vision and a skewed depth perception, he strayed away from what made him such a force: attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line.

Instead, he was tentative and made terrible decisions to overcompensate for his lack of aggression. One can assume he didn’t want to risk further injury, but that passiveness was reflected in both his play and the Chicago Bulls’ win-loss record.

But look at the Rose’s numbers post-All Star break in comparison to the numbers he put up during his MVP season:

Per 48 Minutes
2015-2016 Post All-Star – 31 ppg, 7.9 asts, 5.4 rbs, 52 FG%, 48 3P%
2009-2010 MVP Season – 32.1 ppg, 9.9 asts, 5.2 rbs, .44 FG%, 33 3P%

The improved play can be attributed to Rose understanding his limitations and playing to his strengths. He’s still lethal when he’s pushing the ball in transition, attacking the basket and facilitating to teammates for an open look.

More often than not, when he attacks and creates plays for his teammates, they’re more than willing to reciprocate:

In New York, he’s surrounded by knockdown shooters who will benefit from his attacking approach. Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony both shot in the low-30’s from three-point range last season, but sported True Shooting percentages of 51-plus or higher.

Both will improve on the former statistic, and their ability to stretch the floor and draw defenders out to the perimeter makes it easier for Rose to blitz the paint. It also sets up potential 1-on-1 matchups, where he can set up his ridiculously efficient bank shot—which he converted a ridiculous 70 percent through February last season—or use his speed to blow by defenders.

He’s still one of the best finishers in basketball. Among 61 players who averaged at least five drives per game, Rose was tied with LeBron James for seventh in efficiency, converting 76 percent of the time. Knicks guards shot 44.7 percent on drives to the basket last year, and averaged a league-worst 7.6 points per game.

By comparison, Rose averaged 8.4 points per game on drives alone.

For the Knicks to be dangerous, he’ll have to be more pass-friendly when he’s attacking. Rose passed on only 23 percent of his drives to the basket, and he was prone to turning it over more than getting the assist (7.1 percent to 6.5 percent).

But for the second straight season, New York was last in drives per game at 15.5, while Rose himself averaged 8.9 for the Bulls. His teammates will benefit from him pressing the issue, whether he’s looking to pass or score.

Rose can still score with the best of them, too, especially against top competition. In the seven games against last year’s Eastern Conference All-Star point guards – Kyle Lowry, John Wall and Isaiah Thomas – he averaged 20 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field (58-of-116).

He also dropped 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting against Stephen Curry, 28 points and seven assists on 11-of-19 shooting against Kyrie Irving, and 29 points, six assists and five rebounds on 12-of-25 shooting against Russell Westbrook.

As Rose can attest, guards like to show out against New York. But with Rose, the Knicks have an explosive guard who can return the favor.

Rose can still score with the best of them, averaging 20 points per game on 50 percent shooting against last year’s Eastern Conference All-Star point guards.

However, he won’t have to carry the scoring load all on his shoulders. There’s no pressure for him to step in and completely take over because of the assets he has around him. Rose will most likely be a second or third option behind Anthony and, possibly, Porzingis.

With the addition of Brandon Jennings, he’ll have a viable backup that’ll allow him to rest without worry.

Rose ranked 15th in minutes per game among all qualifying point guards. Those minutes won’t increase next season with Jennings in the fold, which means he’ll be rested and fresh for the fourth quarter.

And we’ve seen what he can do in late game moments.

Derrick Rose is a figure who will always be attached to the ‘what if?’ mantra, but he’s shown that he’s still a serious threat when he plays efficiently. There hasn’t been a Knicks point guard to make the All-Star team since Mark Jackson in 1989, but Rose will have ample opportunities to change that.

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If he stays true to his game, there’s no reason he can’t be a 20 points per game player and mid-40 percent shooter. That will be more than enough to solidify him as a All-Star point guard, and more importantly, make the Knicks a serious threat in the Eastern Conference.