This offseason Derrick Rose opened his mouth and handed the media another reason to believe the Knicks would fail this season.
Rose braggingly implied the 2016-17 New York Knicks were a “super team” this offseason. The remarks were bizarre and hilariously short sighted and maybe the dumbest thing an NBA player has said in a long, long time. Rose foolishly compared the Knicks to the Golden State Warriors. New York improved the roster in the summer from the 32-win mess one season ago, but as we approach the halfway point of the NBA season, the Knicks and Rose aren’t a super team, heck, they aren’t even a good team.
The Knicks sit 10th in the East, two games back of the playoffs with a mediocre 17-20 record. Teams ahead of the proposed “super team” include the Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets.
The Knicks flaunted bringing in Rose, whose game and off court troubles made him more of a distraction than a weapon. They brought in a trio of free agent signings poised to beef up the club’s depth. That hasn’t happened as new additions haven’t resulted in a Golden State-like harmony.
Joakim Noah was signed to a four-year, $72 million contract and expectedly failed to live up to it. Consistently outplayed by backup Kyle O’Quinn, Noah has proved to be a negative on offense and simply can’t be counted on. The 31-year-old has improved play as of late, but with three more seasons on his deal, he’s dead weight already. Brandon Jennings has more or less played like you’d expect him too. He’s a high volume chucker who shoots a low percentage. The 27-year-old occasionally can take over a game, but at this point in his career, Jennings won’t make much of an impact like he did in Milwaukee. New guard Courtney Lee’s been consistently fine.
The biggest offender in New York’s playoff hopes is Rose. He’s a shell of his MVP self and doesn’t possess the game-changing kill-factor he did in Chicago. Averaging 17.3 points on just under 16 shots is hardly efficient, especially for a “star.” Rose has undergone long stretches where he’ll throw up more shots than points. From long distance, Rose is hitting just 24 percent on 1.5 attempts per game. He’s second in assists behind Jennings despite playing 10 more minutes and turns over the ball at 1.8/per turnover rate. With free agency approaching, I’d be more than leery to hand Rose a long-term deal. He’s on the decline and proved to be an odd fit with the Knicks.
With Jeff Hornacek behind the bench, the Knicks are still plagued by issues carrying over from last season – although, it’s hardly his fault. Carmelo Anthony is shooting too much and scoring at a declining rate once again. His 42 percent shooting percentage from the field would represent a career low – he’s doing that on more than 18 shots per game. Kristaps Porzingis is the future, but he’s still inexplicably playing second fiddle and sometimes third fiddle in New York’s offense. The Knicks need to unleash him and make him the focus on both sides of the floor. Defensively, with Kurt Rambis calling the X and O’s, the Knicks are atrocious. Opposing teams average 108.8 points per game, 14th in the East, only ahead of the depleted Brooklyn Nets. It’s too easy to get buckets.
The Knicks don’t have an identity and it starts at the top. Noah, Anthony, and Rose aren’t the type of players the Knicks should be counting on and spending big money to retain. Porzingis should be running the show with a group of developing youngsters, not declining stars. The current Knicks unit was never capable of being a super team. At this point, they aren’t even a playoff team. It’s time to cut bait and rebuild the right way. But, one of the biggest tragedies in recent-Knicks history is they refuse to wait. New York and “super team” shouldn’t be uttered in a sentence unless drastic changes are made.