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Knicks Preseason Profile: Lean, Clean Derrick Rose Looks To Make MVP Impact

Fully healthy and resembling his rookie self, Rose is looking to make a sizable effect on the New York Knicks' efforts off the bench.

The New York Knicks have hosted some of the most renowned names in basketball history, some of whom are immortalized in the rafters of Madison Square Garden. Among those to don the team's famous blue and orange scheme include NBA legends like Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Dikembe Mutombo, and Rasheed Wallace. 

Naturally, you'll never remember any of them as Knicks, perhaps true to the franchise's star-crossed nature.

Derrick Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, is perhaps in danger of joining the latter list. Rose, in fact, could appear on several such lists throughout the Association, forced to become a wanderer after devastating injuries ended his reign atop it in Chicago. The Knicks were the first stop on this nomadic odyssey in 2016-17, and brief stints in Cleveland, Minnesota, and Detroit have brought him back east, where he's made a bit of a home. 

The Madison Square Garden hardwood, however, has been more of a vacation at this point in time, with further medical woes sidelining Rose over the past two seasons of rollercoaster basketball. So why is there so much hype, even hope, behind his new year in Manhattan? We investigate...

2021-22 Season Review

Rose performed well enough during the Knicks' run to the Eastern Conference's fourth seed upon his return in February 2021, to garner a new three-year deal worth $43 million. But Rose's Murphy's Law-style of medical woes cursed him yet again: his last appearance came in December when an ankle injury and subsequent surgery brought about a two-month recovery period. 

As if the surgery wasn't enough, Rose endured a skin infection on the same ailing ankle, one that eventually cost him the rest of the season. The injuries to Rose and Kemba Walker indirectly set the Knicks upon the pricey path to Jalen Brunson, the latter dealt away to help write his check. With 26 games under his belt last year, Rose has not played at least 60 games since the 2016-17 campaign. 

When he was in the lineup, Rose struggled to make an impact: the Knicks were 1-9 when he played at least 25 minutes and his 12-point average was the second-lowest of his career, besting only the 2017-18 campaign when he was averaging only 16 minutes a game between the Cavaliers and Timberwolves.

2022-23 Season Preview

Keep your shirt on about your expectations around Rose ... he certainly can't. 

Despite his recent struggles, Rose is at his most optimistic as he turned 34, his jovial persona brought about by working his day down to his rookie weight of 195 lbs. He showcased his newfound physique during the Knicks' "Content Day" proceedings, the result of a summer project requested by head coach Tom Thibodeau. 

Not only was Rose happy to show off, but he also happily embraced the burdens and responsibilities that come with the new look.

"I think what this year’s all about is accountability," Rose said, per the New York Daily News. "Like being able to not get in your feelings or taking it personally when somebody comes over and gives you constructive criticism. As a man and as a professional, you’re supposed to understand that."

Even at 34, Rose admitted that he's still learning new tricks, ones that will allow him to become an even greater leader for a team in desperate need of guidance and direction. 

"I killed that ego a long time ago," Rose said. "I’m a totally different person, which I should be. I’m way more mature, and still trying to challenge myself to be more vocal.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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