The New York Knicks have brought in Derrick Rose, not as a savior, but as a mentor.
Save for a dud against Orlando, and the ploy seems working for the Knicks.
The Rose effect has been felt immediately with the Knicks sneaking into the playoffs picture, winning three of their five games since the former MVP arrived via trade from Detroit. They currently sit at the seventh spot with a 14-16 record.
The trepidation among the Knicks fan base was quickly replaced with a warm reception.
Rose hasn’t taken away minutes from fan-favorite and their quickly rising rookie Immanuel Quickley. The Knicks are outscoring their opponents by 34 points in the 94 minutes Tom Thibodeau rolled a lineup with the Rose-Quickley tandem, per NBA.com.
It’s a small sample size, but it’s an encouraging sign.
Both players are quick and electric. They have a knack for explosive scoring since both were molded under the same legendary college coach.
Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari believes the Knicks have struck gold with his former players’ backcourt pairing.
“Both are terrific people and teammates,” Calipari told Empire Sports Media via zoom call on Friday. [Rose] would never take a picture unless his teammates are with him. He didn’t want the stuff by himself. Immanuel is the same way. All the good stuff he’s doing and how he’s playing, you listen, he’ll defer to his team. He’s an unbelievable teammate.”
Rose was a one-and-done prospect who blossomed into the NBA’s consensus No.1 pick under Calipari when he was still with the Memphis Tigers. Quickley, on the other hand, recently played for Calipari at Kentucky and won SEC Player of the Year honors before entering the NBA.
While there were ramblings about their fit before Rose’s second go-round with the Knicks, they were all washed away.
Quickley is averaging 14.0 points and 2.4 assists on 21.4 minutes since Rose’s arrival. Meanwhile, Rose has put up 11.2 points and 3.4 assists in 20.6 minutes for the Knicks this season.
“They’re different in that Immanuel was more of a shooting scorer. Both have great runners or floaters. Derrick wanted to pass first, at least when I got him. He passed first and then look to score. Immanuel is more of a scorer who can pass. They are different in that way. But I’m gonna tell you both — you know there’s not one time I don’t text or talk to them and say ‘I love you coach’. — [These] are great human beings. They’re great young men,” Calipari said.
Rose and Quickley’s near similar skillsets have allowed Thibodeau to keep their opponents second-guessing on defense as both guards can play well off and on the ball.
Thibodeau’s player development is anchored on accountability and playing with a winning mentality instead of wantonly letting his young guys play big minutes and learn on the fly. He’s surrounded his young core with veterans who understands his demands.
There’s no doubt in Calipari’s mind that Rose will serve as the ideal mentor to Quickley.
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