The New York Knicks had a relatively noisy offseason and added the likes of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Brandon Jennings this summer. Rose was traded for, and both Noah and Jennings were signed as free agents. Regardless of their past, Jackson believes the moves were worth it.
All three have battled injuries over the last couple of seasons, and Jackson told ESPN’s Ian Begley that “in our situation, [it’s] definitely worth the risk. We have had two seasons that have not been successful, and we need to move forward and win.”
Rose, the MVP back in 2010-11, has become infamous for being regularly injured and has missed 162 games over the last four seasons. The silver lining is that Rose appeared in 66 games for the Chicago Bulls last year, the most since he saw since 81 during his MVP year. In those games, he averaged 16.4 points on 42.7 percent shooting and 4.7 assists–not great, but he’s still productive enough to be the Knicks’ starting point guard.
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Noah was brought to the Knicks with a four-year, $72 million contract over the summer after playing in just 29 games for the Bulls last year. The situation was less than stellar, and the organization and Noah began to but heads. Noah, a former Defensive Player of the Year, was relegated to a bench role by rookie head coach Fred Hoiberg after Chicago brought on Pau Gasol. It was Noah’s worst year as a pro.
He was averaging just 4.3 points on 38.3 percent shooting and 8.8 rebounds at the time of his injury, and the Bulls missed his tenacity on the defensive end of the court.
Despite splitting time with the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic last year, Jennings will look to play in his first full season since coming off an Achilles injury last year. A gunslinger by nature, the former lottery pick will bring a much-needed playmaker off the bench for the Knicks. Although Jennings is a capable scorer, he’ll be able to feed the ball to Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, two guys who will be heavily involved in New York’s offense this year.
The Knicks aren’t ready to contend yet. Although Jackson seems optimistic about their future, as he should, they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs this upcoming year. Vegas has them finishing at 38.5 wins this season, leaving them on the cusp of a playoff appearance.
If their newcomers are able to stay healthy, the Knicks will have a realistic shot at challenging for the seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs.
Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference