New York Knicks: Leon Rose is wise to not skip steps

NY Knicks, Leon Rose (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Knicks, Leon Rose (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks president Leon Rose finally broke his silence. His vision for the team’s next head coach should prove wise in the long run.

When the New York Knicks hired Leon Rose as team president, most everyone was anxious to hear about his vision. Rumors swirled about his intentions but rarely did we get to peer into the mind of New York’s top basketball decision-maker.

The silence has finally been broken, and one of Rose’s first orders of business was to make a commitment to the long-term development of the younger players on the roster.

New York’s rebuilding efforts under general manager Scott Perry were centered around two key points of emphasis: one was to clear cap space for meaningful periods of free agency; and the other was to value the NBA Draft as a means for finding critical talent.

New York Knicks president Leon Rose is focused on developing the team’s young players.

In a recent interview with Mike Breen of MSG Network, Rose made it clear that the next head coach will be tasked with developing the young players above all else.

For those who can’t see the video, Rose made this poignant comment about his search for the next head coach of the Knicks.

"“We want to find the right leader that can develop our young players as well as hold everyone accountable,” Rose said. “And take us from development to becoming a perennial winner. We also want someone that we think will be collaborative with the front office and someone that when you’re in that huddle and when you’re looking at that coach’s eyes, every player who’s looking at him knows that person is driving the ship and going to get the job done.”"

In other words: New York is poised to finally see the youth movement through.

New York has a promising crop of up-and-coming talent on the roster. In terms of the players who are already producing, RJ Barrett is 20 years of age, Mitchell Robinson is 22, and Julius Randle is a veteran at 25.

New York also has the likes of 21-year-old Ignas Brazdeikis, 20-year-old Kevin Knox, 21-year-old Frank Ntilikina, and 22-year-old Kenny Wooten under contract.

That list also includes 22-year-old Dennis Smith Jr., whom Rose called a, “Special talent.”

Rose will be fortunate enough to have an abundance of draft picks to work with during the rebuilding process, as well. In 2020, New York is on pace to have the Nos. 6, 27, and 38 overall selections.

That gives Rose the flexibility to either find a key piece to the puzzle at the NBA Draft or package those picks in a trade for a bigger name.

Flexibility isn’t something that the Knicks have created for themselves in recent seasons. As such, Rose inherited a much healthier organization than some of his predecessors were able to.

That doesn’t exactly guarantee future success, but thus far, Rose has said all of the right things for a team that needs to be patiently aggressive.

It’s entirely possible that the current core of players will be unable to lead the Knicks back to the playoffs. It’s also possible that the Knicks will be unable to find the type of talent they’re looking for at the 2020 NBA Draft or in free agency.

In saying that, the Knicks are in a similar position to where the Brooklyn Nets were before signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving: The culture-building stage.

Brooklyn landed two of the biggest names in basketball for a myriad of reasons, but one of the most attractive traits was the culture that had been established. The Nets were coming off of an improbable run to the Playoffs that saw a grand total of zero players average more than 30.2 minutes per game.

With a team-first mentality, Brooklyn won 42 games and ultimately cashed in with a period of free agency that could deliver the franchise its greatest postseason success since New Jersey.

New York will inevitably attempt to follow in those footsteps; signing a superstar will always be a priority. Rather than simply clearing cap space and saying, “We have the money to sign you now,” however, Rose plans to build an attractive platform for those players to perform upon.

The clearest path to such success is to develop the young players on the roster and establish the type of winning culture that’s been missing for the better part of 20 years.

Perhaps Barrett, Robinson, and the 2020 lottery pick will prove to be the core of the future for a team that already has a rising star on either end of the floor. Perhaps it’ll all burn to ash and the Knicks will be forced to hit the reset button once more.

Regardless of what plays out, Rose is committed to utilizing the assets that are available to him in the pursuit of better days.

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That could be exactly what the New York Knicks need to escape the depths of despair.