Derrick Rose of the Knicks drive to the basket against...

Derrick Rose of the Knicks drive to the basket against the Indiana Pacers during a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 7th, 2022. Credit: Errol Anderson

KEY STORY LINES

Brunson steps forward

A second-round pick who came off the bench during much of his four seasons with Dallas, Brunson emerged as a complement to Luka Doncic last season and now, with a four-year, $104 million free-agent deal, he is tasked with a starring role. Though he isn’t a superstar, early indications are he is exactly what the Knicks need: a leader with toughness who will share responsibility with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.

Regaining the form

Randle emerged as the NBA’s Most Improved Player two seasons ago, then was the target of hometown fans as he struggled with his shooting and oddly sulked to the finish line. In shape, showing an unselfish fit alongside Brunson, a return to his 2020-21 form by Randle would help the team or increase his trade value.

Return of Rose

Derrick Rose played 26 games last season, but now that he’s 20 pounds lighter and well-rested, a return to form could be the key for a talented second unit.