How the Knicks should supplement the loss of Derrick Rose after ankle surgery

knicks, miles mcbride

The New York Knicks announced that veteran point guard Derrick Rose will miss a minimum of eight weeks after having ankle surgery to correct an issue on his right leg.

The loss of Rose is a significant hit to an already thin Knicks team that is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19. Gearing up to take on the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, the Knicks will already be without Miles McBride, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, Nerlens Noel, and are still waiting for Obi Toppin to clear symptoms. RJ Barrett was cleared to return on Thursday morning.

Rose has played a big role in helping the Knicks this season before the ankle injury, which has kept him out since December 16 against the Houston Rockets. He only played 12 minutes against Houston before being pulled, giving the team plenty of time to see if his ankle could be corrected without surgery.

However, they will now be without arguably the best point guard on the roster, averaging 12 points, 4.0 assists, and shooting 44.5% from the field and 40.2% from three-point range over 24.5 minutes per game.

The reality is, Rose is arguably the Knicks’ most important player, organizing the office and proving to be a catalyst on both sides of the ball. The Knicks are 12.8 points per 100 possessions better when Rose is on the floor, so supplementing his loss will be difficult.

With so many guards out, head coach Tom Thibodeau has been forced to bring back Kemba Walker. He likely would’ve kept Walker on the bench if not for all the injuries and Covid situations. Without Quickley and McBride, Walker has started alongside Alec Burks, playing 37+ minutes in each of the past two games.

Walker has provided ample offensive sufficiency, posting 29 points against his former team in the Boston Celtics and 21 against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night. Off the bench, the Knicks don’t have any guard depth, being forced to bring in Damyean Dotson, a former player, to fill in.

In the absence of Rose, though, the Knicks have a few different directions they can go in once they return several players.

Ideally, this is a golden opportunity to see how Miles McBride reacts to more playing time. McBride only has two professional games under his belt with 20 or more minutes in each. In his first legitimate assignment against the Golden State Warriors on December 14, he posted eight points and four rebounds, hitting 50% of the shots from three-point range.

Against the Houston Rockets two days later, he had his best game of the season, logging 15 points and nine assists. I would be remiss not to mention his four steals, showcasing incredible vision and sleight of hand.

McBride won’t be able to replace the floor general manager mentality of Rose, but at least he can provide adequate defense and continue to develop his game in the meantime. McBride had been dominating with the G-League squad, justifying his elevation to the Knicks’ top team.

It is logical that Thibodeau would Walker in the same role, featuring as the starter and bringing McBride off the bench (just as he did with Rose). Expecting the West Virginia star to start right away might be a tad optimistic, but if Walker experiences a cold streak, especially with his shooting, Thibodeau may have no choice but to make a shift based on defensive value alone. Don’t forget about Immanuel Quickley, though, who has been great as a play-making guard with developing vision as a passer. Thibs has a difficult task ahead of him to find the right player combination to help replace Derrick’s efficiency.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”2zc9ulhqd6″ question=”What do you think?” opened=”0″]Would you prefer to see McBride or Walker start? Comment here![/wpdiscuz-feedback]
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