In Wake of Derrick Rose Injury, Knicks Can Officially Tank Now

derrick rose

Matthew Jordan

Sunday, April 2, 2017 9:55 PM GMT

What promised to be an interesting offseason for the New York Knicks just got even more so in the wake of a season-ending injury to point guard Derrick Rose. Has the former league MVP played his final game in a Knicks uniform?

The New York Knicks, one of the NBA’s marquee franchises, are going to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. There are calls for team president Phil Jackson to resign because most of his moves have not worked out – other than drafting Kristaps Porzingis. Jackson’s big move last offseason was trading for former NBA MVP Derrick Rose, sending center Robin Lopez, guard Jose Calderon and guard Jerian Grant to Chicago.

Rose had worn out his welcome in the Windy City and couldn’t stay healthy. Rose tore the ACL in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs and missed the entire following season. He has really never been the same after that. Rose then tore the meniscus in his right knee in his first season back from surgery and played only 10 games in 2013-14. Rose tore the same meniscus again in 2015.

Well, Rose is hurt again, having torn the meniscus in his left knee. His season is obviously over, but in one way that might benefit the Knicks because it would behoove them to lose out and get the worst possible record for the most possible ping-pong balls in next month’s draft lottery. Following Sunday’s lifeless 110-94 home loss to the Celtics, the Knicks are 29-48 and 40-37 against the NBA betting spread. They currently have the sixth-worst record in the NBA.

Should New York stay at that spot, it would have a 6.3 percent chance of winning the draft lottery and the chance to draft a Rose replacement in Washington’s Markelle Fultz or UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. The Knicks also would have a 21.5 percent chance at a Top-3 pick. It’s possible that New York, should it not win again, could get to the fourth-worst record in the league, currently held by the Orlando Magic. The team in that spot would have an 11.9 percent of winning the lottery and a 37.8 percent chance of a Top-3 spot.

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I do believe Rose’s injury effectively allows the Knicks to tank the rest of the way. He had been the team’s third-best player behind Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, averaging 18.0 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 64 games. He’ll never be an MVP-caliber player again, but Rose was set to cash in big in free agency this summer. Rose's 17.0 PER (player efficiency rating) was easily his best since the ACL injury.

Now it’s rather unlikely that a team would give him the maximum five-year, $150 million deal that Rose was seeking with yet another knee injury. The Knicks probably weren’t going to bring him back regardless, although Rose and his agent have both said publicly that Rose would like to return to New York. The Knicks will be able around $18 million in cap space if they renounce Rose’s cap hold.

The Knicks have rested Anthony in three of the past five games and it wouldn’t shock me if he doesn’t play again in 2017. It’s no secret that Jackson would like to trade Melo, and the worst possible thing that could happen would be for Anthony to get hurt too.

New York’s remaining schedule is vs. Chicago (Tuesday), Washington (Thursday), at Memphis (Friday), vs. Toronto (Sunday) and vs. Philadelphia (April 12). Realistically, the Knicks probably only have a shot of beating the 76ers -- and that’s the only game they would be favored in (assuming their opponents play all their starters). Then again, the Sixers are in the same tanking boat.

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