Knicks Mailbag: When is honeymoon over for Leon Rose?

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Knicks president Leon Rose Treated Art
Knicks president Leon Rose Treated Art

Thanksgiving Mailbag on an interesting question posed by @The_Cooler for The Putback:

When is the honeymoon over for Leon Rose? This roster is poorly constructed. Especially at C and PG. Built around guys who are always hurt.

My first thought when I read the question: How do you define honeymoon?

I’ve been married for a few years and if you asked me, I’d say I’m still in the honeymoon phase. My wife would strongly disagree.

For NBA front offices, is the honeymoon one offseason?

Two offseasons and three trade deadlines?

Is it longer than that?

Rose has been running the Knicks, officially, for two offseasons, two NBA drafts and one trade deadline. (NYK was taking unofficial cues from Rose at 2020 deadline.)

I think, given the context of Rose’s tenure, you wait to see how the 2021-22 season plays out until you start to pass firm judgement on his body of work.

Before the 2020-21 season started, no one outside of the Knicks’ Tarrytown practice facility thought that they would be a playoff team.

Tom Thibodeau, Julius Randle and the group far exceeded expectations. They earned the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and lost in the first round to the Atlanta Hawks. The series loss exposed holes in the roster.

The club believes some of those holes were address in the offseason by signing Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker.

In essence, the Knicks seemed to bet that Walker and Fournier could boost the offense and, as a team, the defense would be adequate enough to win games.

So far, the results have been mostly bad. But the starting unit has shown some signs of life recently.

Could the Knicks be in a better spot at this point if they signed Lonzo Ball? DeMar DeRozan? Probably.

But I think you look at the big picture at the end of the year before firmly judging the moves.

Of course, if the 2021-22 Knicks win 37 games and miss the playoffs, Rose and his group will take criticism from the fan base -- and maybe ownership? There will be external pressure to turn things around quickly in 2022-23.

But we’re not there yet. We’re roughly a quarter of the way through a long season.

So I think you have to wait and see where New York is at the end of the year before you start to make any broad judgements on Rose and company.

** That doesn’t mean that the Knicks’ 2021 offseason shouldn’t be scrutinized until the end of the season. It’s fair -- and healthy -- to look at every decision with critical eye throughout the year.

** I tend to take a long view on transactions, maybe to a fault. I’ve said for two years that it’s too early to fully judge the Kristaps Porzingis trade -- and I still feel that way.