Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks says he has “synergies” with coach Tom Thibodeau

11:52 ET

  • Tim BontempsESPN

Derrick Rose said when he decided to leave the Detroit Pistons, the only choice on his mind was reuniting with former coach Tom Thibodeau and CEO William Wesley with the New York Knicks.

“Of course,” said Rose after scoring 14 points in 20 minutes on his Tuesday night debut, a 98-96 loss in Miami against the Heat. “Though I couldn’t say that at the time, I just wanted to be comfortable. Like I said, I’ve known these guys since high school, eighth grade, high school, so I come here like I said, It’s a family . I never really thought of anything other than really coming here and understanding that you should help me nurture the young people who already have them here. “

Rose, who officially acquired the Knicks on Monday in exchange for point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Charlotte’s 2021 second-round pick, has played well in his first game with the franchise since he went free at the end of the 2015-16 season Agent had left. Rose went 5-on-9 from the field, including 2-on-3 from the 3-point area, to go with three assists and two turnovers in his 20:20 playing time.

Those minutes came solely with Knicks rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley, whom Thibodeau rose to match on the pitch. Thibodeau said after the game that he liked the look the couple put on together, pointing out that this would be New York’s back space for the second unit going forward. He added that the player Rose replaced in the rotation, Austin Rivers, would now be a “situational” player.

“I think you see it a lot when you have multiple point guards on the ground. It gives you another ball handler, a secondary ball handler, and you can probably get Alec (Burks) in too,” Thibodeau said. “So there are three people of us who can get rid of the dribbling, and all three are very efficient at pick and roll. Their versatility allows them to actually mix with both groups. I think we’ll see some of this if we do. ” go forward too. “

For Rose, this is the third time in his career that he played under Thibodeau, his coach in Chicago, from 2010 to 2015, and then again as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. When asked why they bond, Rose laughed and said he and his coach were an “odd couple” before discussing their love for the game.

“I can’t explain the synergy we have,” said Rose. “We’re a strange couple, but for some reason we understand the game. And the next thing I can probably say, we’re students of the game. We’re watching the game. We’re trying to understand the game better and try. ” Getting better, if not every day, every week, every month, every few months, every year. There is always room for improvement and it is for team improvement. Wherever I go, wherever he goes, we always try to win. “

After the deal closed, there were some concerns among Knicks fans that Rose would be eating in the minutes that Quickley, the 25th election in November’s NBA draft, would play.

Quickley, who entered the game as a rookie on Tuesday averaging 12 points and shot 36.3% out of 3-point range, has been impressive in his rookie season. He has shown the game of one of his idols, veteran Lou Williams, as a solid 3-point shooter who can also pull fouls and hit floaters in the lane.

However, if Tuesday’s game was a clue, Quickley’s rotation point is sure to be forward. And Rose, for her part, extensively praised the rookie. Since trading, he has said several times that he is excited to play alongside Quickley.

“It shouldn’t be too difficult [playing] with him, “said Rose.” We are similar. In his rookie year he is teamed up twice. There aren’t too many newbies who get this type of attention. Seeing this early will only make his game better. The game will continue to slow down. And he listens. That’s the best thing about him: he listens. So you always have room for improvement.

“He’s a dog. He’s a dog. I can’t explain it. You have to be a gamer to understand it. [If] We’re in a fight, I know he’s fighting. “

Ultimately, however, Rose’s debut was marred by a late comeback from the Heat, which swept this home-and-home streak with the Knicks by pulling the same trick – with a win thanks to better execution on the track – both on Sunday in New York and Tuesday night in Orlando.

After Jimmy Butler, who led Miami with 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists, missed 1 of 2 free throws by 6.2 seconds, the Knicks tied the score well when sophomore security guard RJ Barrett caught the ball Butler defended him, attacking the edge with his dominant left hand.

But Barrett’s layup attempt rolled off the front of the rim and the Knicks fell for the seventh time in 10 games after a promising start to the season. Associated with the heat in ninth place in the east, they’re just one game ahead of Orlando Magic in 13th place.

“I looked really good,” said Barrett, who had 13 points and six rebounds but only shot 5-14 from the field. “Layup goes to my strong hand … has to finish it.”

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