Nearly four weeks have passed since New York Knicks veteran point guard Derrick Rose underwent surgery on his right ankle, ruling him out for a minimum of eight weeks. Rose is expected to make a return in just over a month, barring any setbacks with his rehabilitation.
With the trade deadline coming up on February 10, the Knicks have a big decision to make, waiting on Rose to make a heroic return or acquiring a point guard to help smoothen the load for the remainder of the season.
Rose remains in good spirits, spending time around the team and working through the process to heal his ankle. In his absence, though, the Knicks have lacked a true floor general and leader on the court.
Just a week ago, reserve center Taj Gibson spoke of Rose’s mentality, per The Post.
“I think his mindset is great,” Gibson said. “He was smiling, he was happy. He understands that it’s a process as far as getting mentally right, but making sure you can perform at 110 percent. And knowing where we’re at in the standings (11th place in the Eastern Conference entering Tuesday) and we’re just right there and knowing he’s coming back, so we’ve still got some time to make up some ground. I think he’s on a positive note.”
Prior to Derrick’s injury, he was averaging 12 points, 4.0 assists, and shooting 40% from three point range this season. At 33 years old, he was tallying 24.5 minutes on average per game, so the Knicks have had to supplement him with Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley, and even Miles McBride at times.
Unfortunately, at this point in Kemba Walker’s career, he’s not able to lessen the impact of Rose’s absence, mainly because of a difference in play style. Walker is a purebred scorer but lacks the vision and facilitation that Rose brings to the table.
That is why the Knicks have been connected to a variety of players, including Jalen Brunson from the Dallas Mavericks.
Brunson is an exciting young player who is looking for a big contract extension after the current season. Brunson has several ties to the Knicks, having grown up in New Jersey and his father playing for the Knicks and coaching under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago.
This season, Brunson is averaging 16 points, 5.7 assists, and shooting 50% from the field over 31 minutes per game. This is the most action Brunson has received in his career, but with reports indicating he’s looking for a four-year, $80 million contract extension, the Knicks might be hesitant to bite. However, if they bring him in and he performs at a high-level, they might’ve found their young point guard of the future.
“Brunson faces a similar market, but the guard is believed by many to be seeking near a four-year, $80 million contract,” wrote Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “That is a large number, especially for a player that several competing executives think is too big of a target defensively in the playoffs.”
There are plenty of impacting factors for Tom Thibodeau and his team, but the main question is, can they outlast Derrick Rose’s injury and be in a good spot to contend for a postseason spot once he returns?
Currently, the Knicks sit one game below .500 and have fallen out of play-in contention with the Boston Celtics manning the 10th seed.