The New York Knicks made it a priority to upgrade the point guard spot this off-season, and signing Kemba Walker and retaining Derrick Rose accomplished just that. With two offensive-minded players who can operate as a floor general, the state of the PG spot has changed dramatically in just one off-season.
Just one year ago, the Knicks were rolling out Elfred Payton, Frank Ntilikina and hoping that Immanuel Quickley could provide some support at one of the more important positions on any given team. Now, the challenge will be devising ways to get all of their talent at point guard involved, ranging from Rose to Miles McBride, the team’s 36 overall pick out of West Virginia this year.
However, Walker has tremendous appreciation for D-Rose and what heâ€™s accomplished thus far in his career. Last season, Rose played in 35 games with the Knicks, averaging 15 points, 4.2 assists, and shooting nearly 49% from the field. He connected on a career-high 41% from three-point range, securing a career-high 53% effective field goal percentage.
Having two players who have dealt with injuries in the past on the same team can create problems, but if they split minutes and mitigate fatigue, management can keep them healthy and operating at full strength. Walker did mention how Rose has dealt with a knee injury before, similar to what the former Boston Celtic is currently working through.
However, the veteran mostly gushed over Rose and the player he is after overcoming so much adversity.
â€œI love D-Rose,â€ said Walker, per Steve Serby of the NY Post. â€œI have always been a huge D-Rose fan, man. Just the way he carries himself, he just seemed like such a great dude. Young MVP, got hurt, so many people just talked so bad about him, but he just kept fighting, he kept fighting. Look at him now, heâ€™s right back, and heâ€™s been around for a long time now.â€
With Rose averaging 26.8 minutes last season over 50 games of play, Walker will likely see his time on the floor decrease. Nonetheless, he only played in 43 games last season, so if the Knicks can keep both of them fully healthy, they can theoretically split the starting job.