What does Derrick Rose's injury mean for Knicks' point guard rotation?

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Derrick Rose tight shot chest up white jersey
Derrick Rose tight shot chest up white jersey

Even with Derrick Rose at full strength, the Knicks have been pretty bad this season. Now, they have to navigate life without him.

Obviously, it won’t be easy.

Here’s a look at the potential impact of Rose’s absence:

MORE KEMBA AND MCBRIDE?

The Knicks say Rose will be reevaluated in eight weeks. Will the team now reevaluate its stance on Kemba Walker?

Before COVID and injuries impacted the Knicks' roster, Walker was on the outside of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. He recorded DNPs for three weeks before returning to the court last Saturday for a depleted team. The club only had two lead guards available (Walker and Alec Burks) so Walker had to play. He scored 29 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics. He started again on Tuesday and had another strong night in a win over the Detroit Pistons.

At the time, you still had the feeling that Walker would be out of the rotation if the Knicks were at full strength.

With Rose out, the Knicks presumably have to turn to Walker.

They could also give Miles McBride regular minutes. McBride was tremendous in a win over the Houston Rockets last week. Shortly after the game, he entered the league’s Health and Safety protocols.

It was unclear if he’d have a rotation spot when he returned. But with Rose out, it’s logical to assume that McBride will have the opportunity to earn regular minutes. (It doesn’t seem like Rose’s absence will directly create a rotation spot for New York’s other rookie, Quentin Grimes).

Everything stated above changes, of course, if the Knicks look to replace Rose immediately via trade.

WHAT ABOUT THE TRADE DEADLINE?

Rose’s injury will probably impact the Knicks’ approach at the Feb. 10 trade deadline. If things go downhill with Rose out, the club could pivot at the deadline and look to move veterans like Burks in exchange for draft capital or a young, unproven player.

If the Knicks hold steady, maybe they look to make a win-now move in early February?

There are Knicks decision-makers who see Myles Turner as a player to target via trade. If New York is still at or near a play-in spot in early February, you could see them look to upgrade the roster and make a run at the playoffs.

A VOID FOR THE YOUNG KNICKS

New York will miss Rose’s play on the court. As Fred Katz of The Athletic noted Wednesday night, the club was nearly 13 points better with Rose on the floor.

But the Knicks will also miss his presence in the locker room. Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley both credited Rose for being a mentor/leader for them last season. McBride and Grimes undoubtedly learned from Rose this season.

When the Knicks are home, Rose will probably spend time around the team as he rehabs. But he’s unlikely to go on the road. So the Knicks will have a leadership void without Rose.