Knicks Media Day takeaways, including Derrick Rose's outlook and RJ Barrett's challenge

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RJ Barrett point 4/20 cropped
RJ Barrett point 4/20 cropped

The big takeaway from Knicks Media Day came from Derrick Rose, who announced Monday that Kemba Walker is New Yorks starting point guard entering the 2021-22 season.

Most who follow the Knicks closely assumed Walker would begin the season as the starter. So this wasn’t a surprise. But the way Rose discussed the decision -- and his role on the team -- was noteworthy for this Knicks team.

Below, we have a little more on that and a few other takeaways from Media Day.

More threes?

The Knicks were No. 3 in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage last season. But they ranked 26th in three-point field goal attempts per game. Tom Thibodeau said last week that Walker and Evan Fournier should help New York shoot more threes next season. Rose feels the same way.

“I think our staple (last season) was defense. Now that I feel like we got better on the offensive side of the ball, it’s about adding little things,” Rose said. “Last year, we only shot 30 threes. This year, now we have three-point shooters. We gotta get up to 37 to 40 attempts.

“I’m not saying we gotta force threes, but take the right threes and don’t pass up any good looks. Push the ball. I felt like last year, we didn’t push the ball. We needed to (push the pace) to get easy buckets and easy looks for Julius (Randle) to get him downhill or to get RJ (Barrett) going downhill to open up the floor for everybody.”

Fournier hit 41.7% of his three-point attempts last season; he attempted 6.7 per game. Walker shot 36% from beyond the arc last year on 8.2 attempts per game.

“If anything, I think it’s gonna help the first group play more fluid,” Rose said of Walker and Fournier. “I felt like Thibs wanted the ball to hop around a lot more.”

May 9, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4) reacts to a referee's call going his way during the section quarter as LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) looks on at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4) reacts to a referee's call going his way during the section quarter as LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) looks on at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Barrett up for challenge on defense

Knicks players and coaches credited Reggie Bullock for his impact on defense last season. They cited Bullock as one of the driving forces behind New York’s success on that end of the floor, noting that he often defended the opponent’s top scorer.

Bullock, of course, is in Dallas now. Barrett was asked Monday about taking on Bullock’s role this season.

“Being a two-way player is always something I strive for. That’s how I want to be known,” Barrett said. “If coach puts me in the position to be that guy guarding that guy every night, I’m all for it. I’m up for the challenge.”

All about basketball

A star player at odds with the organization. A new regime trying to distance itself from past failures. Players dealing with legal issues. More often than not, there’s been some drama or sign of organizational dysfunction cover at recent Knicks Media Days.

But this year was different. The most pressing topics were about basketball.

They were about Walker’s impact. The lessons Randle can take from the Atlanta Hawks playoff series. How Fournier can stretch the floor.

This probably seems meaningless to most fans. But it’s a subtle step in the right direction for Leon Rose’s group. As is always the case, what matters most is what happens on the court.

If the Knicks struggle this season, no one is going to give them credit for having a drama-free Media Day. But it seemed like a positive development for a franchise that had been mired in off-court issues for most of the past two decades.