Derrick Rose, one of the New York Knicks' prized offseason acquisitions, is confident the front office has put the pieces in place for the team to enjoy a successful 2016-17 season. The former MVP also understands the important role he must play for the Knicks to reach the growing expectations.
Lang Whitaker of NBA.com was among a group of reporters who spoke with the point guard about a wide range of issues this week in Las Vegas. The longtime Chicago Bulls stalwart knows the moves New York has made will push the team back into the spotlight.
"With these teams right now, they're saying us and Golden State are the superteams, and they're trying not to build that many superteams, and Adam Silver came out with the statement and this and that," Rose said. "And the expectations I think of us, we just want to win."
The Warriors are coming off a record-setting 73-win campaign and added Kevin Durant, the biggest prize on the free-agent market. There's no doubt they deserve the "superteam" label. The jury will remain out on the Knicks until they start proving it on the court.
It's easy to understand why there's budding optimism in the Big Apple, though. Along with Rose, New York has added Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings to a roster that already featured the strong foundation of Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
Whether the Knicks can translate an active summer into on-court success will heavily depend on if Rose can stay healthy and return to form. He's missed substantial time with injuries over the past four years, and even when he's been on the court, he hasn't looked like his prior MVP self.
The formerly dynamic playmaking guard told NBA.com he's working to refine his game to become more effective based on his current physical abilities:
Just my mid-range game. How many people shoot from midrange in the NBA these days? That's an effective shot for me. A lot of people give it to me. I look at a player like Kobe [Bryant]: He was able to adapt over twenty years to every style of the NBA, and that takes a lot of hard work and seeing what you need to work on. Right now, it's shooting. In the NBA today, if you can't shoot there's no point in you even being on the floor. So this summer [for me] it's a ton of shots, getting up repetitions.
He also noted he's trying to get back to basics with work on his fundamentals so he can once again play the game without having to think so much on the floor.
Rose is also hopeful the team's triangle offense is going to work perfectly thanks to the way the roster has been constructed, per NBA.com.
"With us, with all the pieces that we have, it kind of fits us almost to a T," he said. "Because you have Melo, you have [Porzingis] who can post up a lot. If they was to put me in that position that would be my first time having an isolation at the elbow, or just having an isolation period. It can work that way."
All told, the Knicks are one of the league's most intriguing teams heading into the season. They have put together a roster with a lot of potential, especially if Rose can enjoy a bounce-back campaign, and the Eastern Conference has plenty of question marks outside the top two or three teams.
New York doesn't belong anywhere near the same category as Golden State at this stage. That said, it's not out of the realm of possibility that it could emerge as a contender in the East, especially if Rose and his fellow new arrivals live up to the hype.