In the 2010-2011 season, Derrick Rose was named the youngest player ever to win the MVP award, Joakim Noah was named NBA All-Defensive Second team, and Carmelo Anthony was quietly averaging 25 points a game and leading the Nuggets to an 8th consecutive playoff appearance.
Imagine if that combo would have come together to form another potential big 3 to try and take over the Eastern Conference by force.
“I mean, with these teams right now, they’re saying us and Golden State are the super teams,” said Rose in an interview on NBA.com.
Unfortunately for the new look Knicks, it is 2016, and all 3 of them are far from their original peak of performance, including Melo without his cornrows (Not a fan) and Rose with his impaired vision.
The fantastic four will be nearly unstoppable with shooting all over the floor and being one of the best pace and space teams in the league. The Knicks are not on the level, and they aren’t really close.
After last year’s disaster in the hands of Derek Fisher, Phil Jackson spent the offseason jumping on the attack to augment more pieces to bring back the life into the Knicks organization.
They haven’t made the playoffs since the Bargnani-trade meltdown where the Knicks became flat out horrible in a 4 month span.
But the real punch line: it isn’t getting better.
Phil Jackson needed to answer the call by bringing in strong starters and role players to support Porzingis and Anthony for the future.
The fact of the matter is that he really did not surround them with enough talent to win many more games. Rather, the busy summer will only translate to to only bringing ticket prices and attendance rates up.
Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are good players, but Noah and Rose have combined for 2 full seasons, just one each, since Rose’s MVP season and are only getting older. These are not close to the players they used to be, and they cannot be counted on to produce like they used to.
Since Rose tore his ACL for the second time, he hasn’t shown that crazy athletic, ball of fury type ability where he is blowing past people to get to the cup or stopping on a dime to hit the mid-range jumper.
Rose is still talented. He will fit cozily into Hornacek’s pick-and-roll offense with Porzingis and Noah, but his shooting is disastrous compared to the automatic 15 footer type shooter. His defense isn’t effective either, as he holds a -14.0 offense-defense net rating.
Noah definitely will be a better rim protector than Porzingis or the recently cut Lou Amundson, but with the game evolving into so much pick-and-roll and shooting outside, Noah might not solve many problems with Knicks wing players getting beat enough that a chair could do their work.
Hopefully, that is where Courtney Lee comes in to save the day. Lee is definitely the best signing in this year’s free agency for the Knicks, despite his lack of starpower. He is the typical 3 and D player an organization can ask for to help win games. The only problem is his skill set is limited to a solid role player at best, and he won’t be taking over any games singlehandedly.
Even though his job was to be brought in as a consistent starter, his role will have to increase when Rose and Noah unfortunately go down with some type of leg injuries for the 80th time.
Even if Rose and Noah stay healthy, their bench is practically laughable especially with Jennings trying to fill into the JR Smith 6th man role from 2013. Unless Jennings magically becomes an above 40% shooter and a competent defender, his sixth man of the year aspirations are likely to go nowhere.
It seems unlikely, and with Jennings’ usual inability to defend or shoot a high percentage, that leaves a huge question mark for the offense whether they will try to run more pick-and-roll with Porzingis taking jumpers or Melo doing his usual 3 jab steps and splashing a shot with 2 hands in his face.
Melo led the team last year in points, assists, and rebounds, showing his value to this team thirsting for more talent. But Melo is no shape to do that for 48 minutes every single game. Someone else has to step into the offense.
That’s why the Rose addition is so puzzling, because he doesn’t shoot well and limits a team that already was one of the worst shooting teams in the league last year (26th). The Rose addition reminds me of when Josh Smith came into Detroit to solve all of the Piston’s problems, but instead, the Pistons won 25 games the first year with him and started 5-23 before he was released.
It proves that scoring efficiency is so important in this game and even if they can shoot the 3, if it is not consistent then he cannot play the wing (No Josh Smith, you are not a wing!)
Maybe Willy Hernangomez, the Knicks’ draft and stash pick from last season, can transform quickly into that stretch 4 or 5 that comfortably fill in for Noah when he gets injured. The chances of that happening in 20-30 games is about zero.
The Knicks are going to be nothing more than another lottery team despite their extremely hyped expectations.
With Melo, Rose, and Noah only getting older and their minute count getting higher, the future does not look too bright in Madison Square Garden.