Derrick Rose Proving He is the Knicks Starting Point Guardby Ben Fadden May 30, 2021 0 comments
The New York Knicks are now trailing the Atlanta Hawks 2-1 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, partly due to the lack of offense coming from RJ Barrett and Julius Randle. However, veteran guard, Derrick Rose is forcing Tom Thibodeau to insert him into the starting lineup for the rest of the series. Thibodeau has consistently started Elfrid Payton this season despite averaging just above 10 points per game and scoring zero points in Game 1. But he made the move that Knicks fans have been clamoring for prior to Game 3 and made Rose the starting point guard.
Starting Rose Paid Off
While the Knicks lost the game to Atlanta on Friday night, Rose was the one player that showed up offensively. After scoring 14 and 26 points in the first two games off the bench respectively, Rose dropped 30 in Game 3. That was the most points he’s scored in a playoff game since May 10, 2015, with the Chicago Bulls.
The two players that were expected to carry the Knicks in the first round haven’t performed up to the level that they can. Randle has been a shell of himself this postseason, scoring just 15 points in Games 1 and 2 before scoring 14 points on Friday. Barrett scored seven points in Game 3 with three assists.
Because Randle and Barrett haven’t shown up offensively in this series, it’s hard to imagine the Knicks not being down 3-0 heading into Game 4 if Rose wasn’t playing this well. Rose is 32 years old and has a lot of mileage on his legs (49 career playoff games), but still managed to lead his team in minutes played (39) in Game 3.
Rose is the Only Great Option
It usually isn’t smart to play an older player that many minutes if you want him to stay healthy. However, the only other options besides Rose and Payton are Frank Ntilikina and Immanuel Quickley. Ntilikina is viewed as more of a defensive-minded player and Quickley is a rookie who played just 15 minutes in Games 1 and 2. So the best option for Thibodeau is to ride Rose until the wheels fall off if the Knicks want to stay in this series, at least until other players like Randle and Barrett start to step up.
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