The New York Knicks are coming off an impressive when over the Indiana Pacers, bringing them to .500 and even to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference.
In the victory, All-Star Julius Randle posted 20 points, second-year player RJ Barrett recorded 24, and youngster Immanuel Quickley also contributed 10 points and shot 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
However, one veteran has quickly been climbing the ranks on the roster, making a significant impact. Some might say the Knicks have already made their prized acquisition this off-season, and his name is Derrick Rose.
Rose played 38 minutes against Indiana, scoring 17 points and recorded 11 assists. He has been an absolute menace on defense, and his vision on the court has helped the Knicks in transition and finding open shots consistently.
Thanks to a close relationship between Rose and head coach Tom Thibodeau, his adaptation to their style has been seamless and efficient.
â€œAny time youâ€™ve spent the amount of time that weâ€™ve spent together and to have all the experiences that weâ€™ve had â€” weâ€™ve had some great highs, weâ€™ve had some lows â€” thereâ€™s just an appreciation for him,â€ Thibodeau said Friday. â€œI think thatâ€™s one of the best parts of coaching, as you get to know people over a long period of time you appreciate all the things that they bring.
Thibodeau knew what Rose would bring to the team, including improved court vision, the ability to get the ball to their primary scorers, and tantalizing defense. With that being said, at 32 years old, the Knicks are utilizing Rose significantly and need to be careful they donâ€™t overwork him.
â€œI think itâ€™s very important, especially when you have a coach like Thibs, heâ€™s a martinet-type of individual,â€ Rose said Friday. â€œHeâ€™s very serious. He knows the standings and heâ€™s going to remind you this is a team that if we make it to the payoffs we could end up facing them.
Mind set and mentality is oftentimes half the battle, and Thibodeau is keen on reminding his team what theyâ€™re fighting for and what the goal is this season.
Historically, Thibs is known for getting his teams to the playoffs, even if it means working twice as hard as everybody else and playing vigorous defense. The Knicks, so far, have done well in both categories, taking exponential steps forward despite multiple factors working against them. The acquisition of Rose, though, has been one of the bright spots this season.