By John Schmeelk
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In hindsight, it was really only a matter of time, wasn’t it?
Everything that could have went wrong with the Knicks’ two major additions happened over the course of the season. It was only fitting for the Knicks’ season to close with just that: Rose having to undergo surgery.
Sadly, all of these things were easy to predict. Joakim Noah missed camp due to a hamstring injury. He never looked anything close to his peak 2011 defensive form, with his lateral quickness unlikely to return. He added nothing offensively, spare an occasional pass. He had to undergo knee surgery in February and was later suspended for using a banned supplement.
So, in other words, Noah ended up being well past his prime, a huge negative offensively, ineffective on defense and injury prone. These were all the knocks on him presented by anyone who had watched his career his final two seasons in Chicago. Yet Knicks president Phil Jackson still gave him four years, $72 million, likely more money and years than anyone else would even think to offer. The result was all too painfully predictable by anyone not named Phil Jackson.
As for Rose, he was actually a more capable scorer than many thought he would be before his season ended with knee surgery. Much of his athleticism returned as he was able to get to the basket and be surprisingly efficient from 2-point range. Unfortunately, all of his other flaws ended up being all too real.
His defense was atrocious and ended up not being much of an upgrade, if at all, over Jose Calderon, whom the Knicks traded to Chicago in the deal to get Rose. The former MVP could not extend his range beyond the 3-point line. He was one-dimensional when driving to the basket, unable to set up his teammates for open shots. He averaged less than five assists per game and never found a rhythm with Kristaps Porzingis.
[graphiq id=”iKq1DbdSnw9″ title=”Derrick Rose Games Played and Missed By Season” width=”600″ height=”495″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/iKq1DbdSnw9″ link=”http://basketball-players.pointafter.com/l/383/Derrick-Rose” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]
The injury bug, feared by many at the time of the trade, didn’t hit in a big way until the end of the season. Nagging issues bothered him throughout the year, which along with the recent knee issue will limit him to just 64 games, two fewer games than he played last season.
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Much like with Noah, all of these issues were predictable based on his play the last two seasons, seemingly by everyone but Jackson. To get a one-year rental on an injury-prone, flawed player who helped lead the Knicks to 30 wins, Jackson traded, in addition to Calderon, the team’s starting center, Robin Lopez (who is better than Noah) and a first-round pick from the previous season (point guard Jerian Grant).
All of this might seem like nothing but a huge “told you so” to Jackson, but as he embarks on his fourth offseason as the team president, it is important to point out how incompetent he has been in evaluating NBA players with a long track record with obvious strengths and weaknesses.
Spare one strong offseason in 2015, everything else major Jackson has touched has completely fallen apart. He’ll have plenty of cap space to use this offseason, and Knicks fans hope he spends far more wisely this time.
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