As we head into the new calendar year, there is still a grey, rainy cloud over the New York Knicks. After getting two wins in which fans perhaps sensed some momentum, they ended 2021 with a disappointing loss to one of the worst teams in the NBA in the Oklahoma City Thunder, followed by another dud in a crowdless ScotiaBank Arena against the Toronto Raptors to open 2022.
At 17-20 and 11th in the Eastern Conference, disappointed Knicks fans are sending out toxicity on social media.
One of the biggest gut punches the Knicks have taken this year is the extended loss of guard Derrick Rose. Over the first two months of the season, Rose looked to be the only competent guard on the roster. On December 16, Rose left the game after playing just 12 minutes. He had not recorded a point with just an assist and a rebound. The Knicks defeated the Houston Rockets, 116-103.
The Knicks deemed the injury as ankle soreness. That was the last time we saw Rose in a Knicks uniform. On December 22, six days after getting injured, the ankle soreness that seemed to not be a big deal turned into a statement released by the team announcing Rose underwent surgery. The team said Rose would be reevaluated after eight weeks, however, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the team is optimistic of a six-week timetable.
February 2 would mark six weeks since surgery. February 16 would mark eight weeks out of surgery.
In the eight games without Rose, the Knicks are 4-4. But, any fan who has watched the games would agree these four wins have been incredibly unconvincing and flukes.
Plus, the unavailability of Rose has hurt this team. According to FiveThirtyEight, Rose’s +6.8 Overall RAPTOR tops the team. Overall, Rose’s WAR is 3.1, again first on the Knicks. When he’s off-court, the Knicks are -3.5.
The bench has been playing well with the absence of Rose, but with the occasional few minutes in which Rose would be the point guard with the first unit gone, the void has not been filled. The team misses Rose’s ability to use the pick-and-roll and make the correct decision. His floater is missed, his kick outs are missed, even his three-pointer is missed.
Rose is shooting 40.2% from deep, the best clip of his career.
The Knicks’ second unit of a Rose and Immanuel Quickley backcourt made Knicks fans drool whenever they would check in after the first unit would get down 13 points in the first few minutes. The Rose-Quickley backcourt was the heart and soul of the second unit, constantly carrying the team back into the contest.
But the Grimes-Quickley backcourt and McBride-Quickley backcourt hasn’t quite provided the same magic.
It’s also worth noting that FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR’s numbers has Quickley second on the Knicks with a +3.7 RAPTOR and a 2.4 WAR, which places him in third, behind Alec Burks.
Also, looking at Bball Index’s LEBRON Metric, Rose is at 2.0 wins added for the Knicks, which ranks him in the 69th percentile in the league. His O-LEBRON puts Rose near the 72nd percentile.
The Knicks have taken many gut-wrenching blows. It feels as though they have not been healthy all season, but every team is dealing with their injury woes, whether it’s a body injury or Health and Safety Protocols. The lack of good play on-court fuels the frustration with a team that had high aspirations heading into the season. You mix all that up along with the subtraction of one of the best guards this team has for an extended period of time produces a formula of anger and bitterness from fans.