NBA Trade Deadline: Derrick Rose Return Could Give New York Knicks Boost Without Need for Major Deal

The New York Knicks have been putrid this season after making the playoffs last campaign for the first time since 2012-13. They are 22-24 and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings, and one of the main reasons they have struggled is because Derrick Rose has been out since December 18.

Rose underwent surgery on his right ankle at the Hospital for Special Surgery on December 22. According to Ian Begley of SNY, the one-time MVP had surgery to clean up a nagging issue in his ankle and avoid any future discomfort or flare-ups.

Before the Knicks lost to the New Orleans Pelicans on January 20, Rose was doing rehab work with trainers and didn’t have a walking boot or brace on, a sign that he could be closing to returning. That’s excellent news for the Knicks, who may not need to make a significant trade with their floor general almost back at the trade deadline.

Derrick Rose is most important Knicks player

If you look at his per-game numbers, you wouldn’t guess that Rose is the most important player on the Knicks. He averaged 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists while shooting 44.5% from the field, 40.2% from beyond the arc, and 96.8% from the free-throw line before deciding to get ankle surgery. Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier, and Kemba Walker all average more points than Rose.

However, Fred Katz, who covers the Knicks for The Athletic, explained why Rose is so vital to New York’s success: “Rose is in all of their best lineups. He organizes the offense. He’s turned himself into a knockdown shooter. He made 39 percent of his 3-point attempts last season and is a hair above 40 percent today. He’s a member of many closing units. The Knicks are 12.8 points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the floor.”

Rose had a plus-minus of +92 before going under the knife for the seventh time in his career. The three-time All-Star leads the Knicks in offensive box plus-minus and box plus-minus and is second in player efficiency rating despite being out since December.

The Knicks desperately need Rose back in the lineup to save their season as he did in 2020-21, and if the front office is confident he can be Superman again, they may not have to give away assets such as Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson, and Immanuel Quickley at the trade deadline.

If Derrick Rose can do what he did in 2020-21, Knicks don’t have to make a major trade

Rose appeared in 35 regular-season games with the Knicks in 2020-21 after requesting a trade from the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 14.9 points and 4.2 assists and shot 41.1% on 3-pointers.

How big was the Rose trade for the Knickerbockers? The Knicks were only 11-15 when they acquired him. They went 24-11 with Poohdini in the lineup and finished the season 41-31. New York’s office can only hope that Rose has a similar impact on winning after returning from his ankle injury and getting his rhythm back.

The Knicks were 11-15 this season when Rose played. Their best win came on November 5 against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. New York was down 38-19 after the first quarter but won by a final score of 113-98 thanks to Rose, who put up 23 points, eight rebounds, and four assists off the bench in 30 minutes and finished with a plus-minus of +31.

There’s no other guard on the Knicks who impacts winning and can score and pass at a high level like Rose. Walker has a plus-minus of -124, and Alec Burks and Quickley are inefficient shot chuckers who bring nothing to the game if their shot isn’t falling. Rose makes them better than they actually are since his penetration sets them up for wide-open looks from beyond the arc, and most NBA players can knock those down.

Once Rose is cleared to play and gets his legs underneath him, the Knicks have to see if he can replicate what he did in 2020-21. If he can, there’s a chance the Knicks can make the playoffs again and keep their young guys in Quickley, Toppin, and Robinson.

However, if Rose can’t save the season again, Knicks president Leon Rose has to blow the team up.

Knicks’ roster isn’t that good without Pooh

Randle’s 2020-21 season has turned out to be a fluke. The reigning Most Improved Player of the Year is averaging fewer points, rebounds, and assists this year, and his shooting splits have dropped significantly. What’s worse is that Randle and Knicks fans are no longer a match.

The lefty gave a thumbs-down gesture to Knicks fans at MSG after they cheered for him since they were booing him earlier in the contest. Since that game, Randle has been booed at every home game. Many New York fans want him traded so Toppin can get more minutes. If Rose’s return isn’t enough to get the Knicks back to the postseason, don’t be surprised if Randle is moved in the offseason.

The Knicks’ season depends on a 33-year-old Rose who is coming off ankle surgery. It will be fascinating to see if the former Chicago Bulls superstar can be a superhero again in New York.

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