GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Derrick Rose was usually the focal point of the offense in Chicago. But after his first practice with the Knicks, Rose said he’ll take a backseat to Carmelo Anthony.
“My job is to come here and help him win. This is his team,” Rose said Tuesday afternoon. “In practice [my job is] to push him, be on him when I see that he’s being lazy or something like that and it’s vice versa. He’s going to be on me when he needs to push me. It’s no bad blood. I’m just here to help him win.”
Rose, a former NBA MVP, reportedly had issues with emerging Bulls star Jimmy Butler in Chicago. But Rose, who was acquired from the Bulls in June, set a good tone in his first practice as Knicks lead guard by displaying a team-first approach.
“I’m not coming in with any ego problem and I’m not coming in chasing no stats or anything like that,” Rose said. “I don’t care about my stats. I don’t look at them after games. My job is as long as we win, I can sleep easy at night. That’s the only thing I worry about.”
Jeff Hornacek enjoyed hearing this after his first practice as Knicks coach, in which he stressed running and playing fast. The Knicks believe they can be a team with multiple options that shares the ball and shots, making it difficult for defenses to stop them.
Rose believes he will make Anthony’s job easier because of the attention he receives. He could take some pressure off Anthony but also bring out the best in him, provided Rose can stay on the court.
Rose has missed 228 regular-season games over the past five years. So Rose’s health is a concern, as is his personal life. Rose has been accused of rape in a civil lawsuit that is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 4, and he’s the subject of a Los Angeles Police Department criminal investigation.
But Rose said he’s focused on basketball. He said he feels “like a rookie again” and appears to have that level of excitement and enthusiasm.
Anthony said he’s never played with an attacking, explosive point guard like Rose. It’s one reason Anthony says he’s more excited than he has been in a long time heading into a season. That sense of anticipation seems to be shared as Hornacek said many players were on the court an hour before practice.
“I’m excited,” Anthony said of playing with Rose. “I’m more excited for him than I think he is for himself. I love kind of comeback stories. I love when guys are always counted out, backs up against the wall, and they have an opportunity to go out there and prove themselves.
“You can just see a different Derrick than what you’ve seen over the past couple of years. The look is on his face. You can just see it.”
The Knicks should have another intense face with them at practice on Wednesday. Rose’s former Bulls teammate Joakim Noah is expected to join the team in West Point after being excused for family reasons. Rose said Noah has the same win-at-all-costs mentality that should benefit Anthony.
“We’re coming in here, we’re battle tested,” Rose said. “Our job is to make his job as easy as possible. That means if it’s sacrificing, we’re sacrificing. Whatever he wants us to do we’re going to do it, bro. We don’t want no problems. We just want to win.”