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Rose 'rejuvenated', confidence high on Knicks' season

In Q&A, point guard says New York considered one of the league's newly formed 'super teams'

POSTED: Jul 21, 2016 11:49 PM ET

By Lang Whitaker

BY Lang Whitaker


Knicks Introduce Derrick Rose

The New York Knicks introduce Derrick Rose who speaks with the media on Friday afternoon.

Derrick Rose's basketball journey couldn't have been going much better.

After a championship game run in his one year of college at Memphis, Rose was drafted by his hometown Chicago Bulls, where the local kid linked in with gritty coach Tom Thibodeau and workaholic teammates such as Joakim Noah to become a reflection of Chicago's Midwestern ethos and ascend the Eastern Conference. But despite Rose's heroics, including an MVP season in 2010-11, the Bulls were never able to reach that highest of heights. The seemingly unstoppable Rose was slowed by a series of injuries, and eventually the Bulls dynasty came tumbling down.

These days Thibs is up in Minnesota ready to direct a new collective of young and hungry players. And the Bulls recently signaled a shift in direction by trading Rose to the New York Knicks, who also added Noah in free agency.

While the Knicks entered last season a certified rebuilding project, one year later they've got a newly recharged roster filled with former and future All-Stars, with a new coach (Jeff Hornacek) who at least has a passing acquaintance with putting points on the board.

Before beginning his New York adventure, Rose was in Las Vegas this week to promote the launch of the "D Rose 7," his latest signature shoe from adidas, which drops Aug. 11. Even though Rose has a new area code, Chicago will always be a part of who he is -- the D Rose 7 even draws inspiration from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Still, Rose is clearly looking forward to what lies ahead, and with just one year left on his contract before hitting free agency, Rose has something to prove. He's trying to retrofit his game to his age, talking about relying less on his athleticism, while working out six days a week and proclaiming himself "rejuvenated." Rose also hints at some larger project he hopes to unveil when the season begins. In general, Rose seems ready to bloom in Manhattan.

"I'm going into a great market," Rose says. "I'm going into a city where they love basketball -- basketball is a culture there, and they love players that play hard. And I think I fit that."

"I think this is a huge opportunity for me, and I'm preparing myself right now."

On Wednesday in Las Vegas, Rose took questions from a small group of reporters...

QUESTION: The colorway of your shoe next to you there is bright orange, like the Knicks color. But you said you never really liked wearing bright colors before?

ROSE: It was just a personal thing, just my style. I love my sneakers to be crazy, but I don't like my outfits to be too crazy. And I love hightop shoes.

Q: Really? Even off-court too?

ROSE: Yeah, all my shoes are basically hightop shoes. So my style's a little bit different. Plain, very plain, but it's me, it's who I am. I'm not flashy or anything, it's just me.

Q: So you can't tell us what this secret thing is?

ROSE: (laughs) It's a project that I've got coming out, hopefully right before the season starts. I think everybody should be excited about it. I can't say [what it is], but it's something big.

Q: Knicks fans always hear about the Triangle offense. How do you think your game fits into what the Knicks are doing offensively? Or do you think the way you guys will play is even the Triangle like we're used to hearing and thinking about it?

ROSE: Of course, when you think about the Triangle you might think about an old-school type of way of playing basketball. Not to say it is old school, but it helped certain teams and worked out for certain teams. With us, with all the pieces that we have, it kind of fits us almost to a T. Because you have Melo, you have [Kristaps Porzingis] who can post up a lot. If they was to put me in that position that would be my first time having an isolation at the elbow, or just having an isolation period. It can work that way. Then you think about the Triangle for playoffs, the Triangle for halfcourt basketball. I talked to Coach Horn, and he was saying with the Triangle he would have to vary the Triangle to have a lot of pick and rolls in there at the top of the key or on the side. So it's really whatever they decide to do, and I have to find my way around it. This is the first time I think the Triangle will really ever have an athletic point guard in that position. So who knows? All I have to do is make sure my catch-and-shoot is pretty good with this team, and like I said, be prepared.

Q: Have you worked out with your new teammates: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, KP?

ROSE: Yeah, there was four of us: Me, KP, Brandon and Sasha [Vujacic]. I didn't work out with Melo yet, because he wasn't in town. But before I started working out, I told him I was preparing myself and he understood. He knows we're going to work out soon but he has to take care of his business with USA Basketball, so I can respect that.

Q: You mentioned you spoke to Coach Hornacek. When he was in Phoenix he ran a lot of sets with Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe at the same time. From a point guard perspective, is that something that excited you?

They're high. I mean, with these teams right now, they're saying us and Golden State are the super teams, and they're trying not to build that many super teams, and Adam Silver came out with the statement and this and that.

– Derrick Rose on the Knicks' expectations

ROSE: Of course! Of course! And the way they shot the ball! [Hornacek]'s a guard, and he played on great teams and went far in the playoffs, Finals and all that. It's just that you never know who I'm going to play with. You could put Brandon at the 1, put me at the 2 certain times, and have Melo, KP and [Joakim Noah]. So I could move off the ball with them and bring them to the mix.

Q: Is that something you'd be comfortable with, playing off the ball?

ROSE: I think so. I'm a hooper, man. I feel like any hooper, you can find a way to get the job done. It don't matter if I have the ball in my hands or not. I feel like if I'm out there, I'll find out a way to get out the way or make it a positive while I'm on the floor.

Q: Earlier today you spoke about being able to play and rely a little less on your athletic ability. What are some specific examples you can give?

ROSE: Just my mid-range game. How many people shoot from midrange in the NBA these days? That's an effective shot for me. A lot of people give it to me. I look at a player like Kobe: He was able to adapt over twenty years to every style of the NBA, and that takes a lot of hard work and seeing what you need to work on. Right now, it's shooting. In the NBA today, if you can't shoot there's no point in you even being on the floor. So this summer [for me] it's a ton of shots, getting up repetitions. And conditioning, of course -- you look at Cleveland and Golden State, the way they push the ball and play an uptempo-type game, you've got to be conditioned. And it's simple stuff, the fundamentals of the game -- footwork, dribbling, going back to the basics and really just sharpening everything so that when I'm on the floor I'm not thinking about it. I'm getting to my moves and getting to my spots without having to do a lot of dribbling. You look at Kobe, he's getting to his spots with purpose. Get to the spots with purpose, putting the defense always on its heels.

Q: Knicks fans always have high expectations, sometimes maybe not even grounded in reality over the years. Before last season, Melo came out on media day and talked about managing expectations with such a young team. But with this roster now and all these veterans, what should the expectations be for the Knicks?

ROSE: They're high. I mean, with these teams right now, they're saying us and Golden State are the super teams, and they're trying not to build that many super teams, and Adam Silver came out with the statement and this and that. And the expectations I think of us, we just want to win. Talking to Melo and all the guys who've been around. You've got Brandon who just signed for one year, he's got to show why he's there. I've got to show why I'm there. Joakim has to show why he's there. Everybody's trying to prove themselves. When you've got a group like that, it's like, alright, I know everybody wants to do that, but we're going to break this down as simple as possible, and try to win every game. I think winning takes care of every category, as far as being an athlete. You look at endorsements, being on the floor, almost everything -- I think winning takes care of all that. And if you're in the league, winning takes care of all the mistakes, or if you have any problems on teams.

Lang Whitaker has covered the NBA since 1998. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.

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