New York Knicks senior statesman Derrick Rose has officially returned “into the unknown.”
Rose, 34, confirmed Tuesday that second-year guard Miles McBride has taken his place in the ever-evolving New York Knicks rotation.
Rose was a healthy scratch on Sunday when New York coach Tom Thibodeau decided to return to the nine-man rotation. Thibodeau later clarified that Rose rested for the second time in the back-to-back schedule.
But the former MVP revealed that his longtime coach explained his “situational” situation before facing the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“[Thibodeau] He said he wanted to look at a demon. That’s all he told me. So I get it.
The shortened turnover and McBride’s entry clicked on the Knicks as they held the Cavaliers’ backcourt – Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell – to 40 points on 13 of 41 shooting from the floor.
McBride had a hand in it despite not scoring in 16 minutes off the bench.
Garland and Mitchell were a combined 0 of 3 from the field when McBride was their primary defender. The Cavaliers were 0 of 6 and outscored by 8 when McBride was on the floor. McBride’s defensive rating of 66.7 finished as the best of all players who played from both teams on Sunday.
West Virginia’s product was also impressive 24 hours later when he suited up for the Westchester Knicks in a G League assignment.
McBride picked up his fifth win in 12 matches. He had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the ground, including 4-of-6 from downtown.
McBride’s shooting has yet to translate at the NBA level, but his defense has earned him a spot in Thibodeau’s shortened rotation.
Another casualty of Thibodeau’s lineup changes is Cam Reddish, who was awful defensively against the Dallas Mavericks last Saturday. Reddish had a plus-minus -16, and his Defensive Rating of 155.0 was the worst of all players who’ve seen action from both teams.
McBride and Immanuel Quickley’s backcourt off the bench is Thibodeau’s solution to tightening up their perimeter defense which has allowed nearly 14 out of 40 three-point attempts per game. Last Sunday, the Cavaliers were held at 8 of 35 3s.
“Part of that is maybe having less people in the spin gives you a better cadence. That’s why we go to the nine [man rotation]. … The hard thing is to make a decision. Well, who are the nine?
And there are men who deserve to be there. And you try to stretch it out a little bit to see it so there’s more clarity. And then, once you have the information, you now have to make the decision. So this is what we did. And while we can do what we do, we think what’s best for the team, so I want to prioritize that and that doesn’t mean it’s permanent. It just means that this is where we are now. Whatever gives us the best chance of winning and that’s what we’ll do.”
Tom Thibodeau postgame via NBA.com
The Knicks’ starting point guard Jalen Bronson, whose reach had greatly reduced Rose’s role on the team, was impressed with Thibodeau’s decision to go nine player deep. But he is also aware of the squad’s roster crisis.
“We have a lot of players who can play good minutes and do a lot of damage on the field. So it’s definitely important for [Thibodeau]. But I just think if we go to the nine-man rotation, it’s fair [about] Rhythm. The guys are a bit more toned and all that stuff, but the coach has a tough job, especially with the players we have.”
Game mail by Jalen Bronson via NBA.com
Rose’s demotion suggests he may be on the move before the February trading deadline. The Mavericks are reportedly interested in Rose.
Reddish is a different story.
After a scary preseason performance, the former lottery pick acquired from Atlanta became an afterthought. But Reddish has thrived as a regular part of the rotation, even stepping up to the starting unit when Quentin Grimes was still bothered by his sore left knee.
But Reddish became expendable once Grimes got his legs back and emerged as the best defender in the Knicks’ perimeter.
The Knicks pushed a protected first-round pick to get Reddish. With Reddish entering restricted free agency, the Knicks have more time to decide if he will be a part of their future. If they ever move from him, they’ll be looking to get another first-round pick to kick the caddy down the road.
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