Derrick Rose believes he’s still “elite”

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Derrick Rose was once the Most Valuable Player in the league, however that was when Lebron was still in Miami, the Lakers were still contenders and the Celtics still had their “big three.” Fast-forward six years, throw him a Knicks jersey, and Derrick Rose believes he still an elite player.

Ian Begley of ESPN asked Rose if he believes he still ranks as one of the best point guards in the NBA.

“That’s no surprise to me. It’s only a matter of time until I put it together,” said Rose,  “All the hard work I put in, everything how I dedicated my whole life to this game, what I sacrificed. It’s only a few that did it and that’s doing it. So it’s all about just putting it together.”

Rose is coming off a civil trial in Los Angeles that made him miss two weeks of training camp. Before long, he returned to camp on the 21st of October, giving him only four days to be with his teammates before the season-opener against the defending champs, The Cleveland Cavaliers.

Rose scored 17 points on 41% shooting in a 29-point blowout loss to the Cavs. His post-game interview explains that in order for him and the team to excel to best of their abilities, they need to run more pick-and-rolls.

“You see with Cleveland,” he said, “they run pick-and-roll the entire game and [create] mismatches and closeouts…. that’s something we have to keep doing.”

How a team co-exists is going to take time, and that is something players from last year’s squad can agree on. After posting a 32-50 record, the team looks to their new acquisitions to help them make the playoffs this year. Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis agree that their new starting point guard is a major factor in the Knicks’ success.

Carmelo’s post game interview after the home opener asserts that he wants Rose to be himself: “If Derrick feels comfortable being up there in high pick-and-roll, that’s his game, you can’t take him away from that. You want to utilize guys’ strengths.”

Porzingis already knows what Rose can bring to the table, even before the regular season started. “He draws so much attention when he’s driving, he’s so dangerous that I’m going to be wide open and that’s what I’m looking forward to. He’s going to be creating for me and other teammates.”

Last season, Rose played a total of 66 games, the most since tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs. Rose is also in the last year of his contract. That should give the Knicks an indication that Rose has a good chance of being healthy all season, and he will play the best of his ability to see a big money contract come summer time.

So what does this all conclude? In order for Rose to thrive in this offense, it has to be his way. That does sound reasonable, he is the one who gets inbounded the ball, he is the one calling out the plays for the team. The two other important players that make up the new Knicks “big three” also believe their point guard needs to be aggressive and make plays for their team to succeed.

Is Rose still elite? Does he still rank with Kyrie, Curry and Lillard? The answer will be given throughout the course of the season but the team does not need #25 to be elite.  They need a healthy and productive point guard that they have been missing since the short stint that was Linsanity. Anything more than that will be a blessing in disguise.

The offensive load will be divided between the scoring prowess of Carmelo and Kristaps, so one wouldn’t expect for Rose to average 25 or more points, and that’s okay. Maybe Rose’s personal goal to be “elite” won’t matter if he ends up sacrificing his points to earn more wins and possibly winning a championship. Only time will tell.

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