Derrick Rose’s reintroduction was a particularly hasty one.
He was traded to the Knicks on Sunday and reportedly did not participate in Tuesday’s shootaround because he had to pass a physical. He immediately was placed on the second unit against the Heat that night and got to know backcourt mate Immanuel Quickley very quickly.
And it worked out fine.
Rose’s gritty, physical attack balanced nicely with rookie Quickley’s shooting prowess, and Rose had 14 points and three assists in 20 minutes. More than that, he proved he could adapt to his new environment — something coach Tom Thibodeau believes will only improve now that the Knicks have had two days off between games.
"We were able to get some quality practice in and we have to carry it over into the games," Thibodeau said as the Knicks got set to play the Wizards on Friday. "I think it’s important for us, when you have a young team, getting someone acclimated coming in from a trade.
"So the more time you have on the court together — and obviously there are a lot of things we have to work on — but I think it’s helpful and of course we want to build the right habits."
Thibodeau, who also coached Rose on the Bulls and Timberwolves, said the familiarity helps but that Rose’s 14-year career probably helps far more.
"I think the advantage is that he’s a veteran and he’s been through things, so he’s got to get up to speed on terminology, that’s the biggest thing," Thibodeau said. "Chicago was a long time ago, Minnesota was a long time ago, so there’s things that are different that he has to pick up on, but conceptually, many of the things are the same, particularly defensively.
"And then offensively, you look at the actions — your pick-and-roll stuff, your side pick-and-roll, your angle pick- and-roll, your catch-and-shoot, your transition, the things you’re doing out of flow — and I think he can pick that up very quickly."
Julius Randle said Rose’s experience is more than as just another rim-attacker coming off the bench. The team is young, and if Rose’s tag team with Quickley on Tuesday was any indication, the extra on-court stability will strengthen their roster. While Quickley was getting double-teamed, Rose feasted.
"He’s going to be extremely helpful," Randle said. "It gives us not just a veteran presence but a guy who can go out there and create plays, just a steadiness about him, just a confidence about him, so I’m extremely excited. I think he’s going to help us win a lot of games.
"Obviously, he’s familiar with Thibs and everything that’s going on, so it’ll probably be a quick adjustment for him. When the news was announced, I was extremely excited about having him here, for sure."
Whether Rose is on the court down the stretch will be determined by how well he is playing and game situations.
"As each day goes by, he’ll get more and more comfortable with everything," Thibodeau said. "We obviously can mix and match with a lot of different combinations. Usually we have a set rotation at the beginning of the game, but the end of the game will be based on what our needs are and who’s playing well."