Fresh from his trade to the New York Knicks, point guard Derrick Rose caught reporters off guard when he recently suggested that his new team could possess the same “super team” status as the Golden State Warriors.
Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Kristaps Porzingis. (AP Photos)
Golden State agreed to a deal with the summer’s top free agent, Kevin Durant, and instantly became title favorites for next season. Durant’s addition only made Golden State’s dynamic trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green even more formidable. When the Knicks acquired Rose last June, the addition of the former NBA All-Star gave the Knicks a quartet of power names: Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Kristaps Porzingis. While that group might not quite be the top foursome in the NBA, they certainly have the talent to improve on the Knicks’ 17-65 record last season. An improvement is likely, but does this New York Knicks squad qualify as a “super team”? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate this question.
Riley: If this was maybe three or four years ago, even without the young Porzingis, I’d gladly call this unit a super team. Rose, Melo and Noah were all in their respective primes at that time. Noah won Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. Rose won MVP in 2011 and Anthony was the scoring champion in 2013. But NBA years fly by quickly, and none of those aforementioned names are even close to where they were just a few seasons ago. Noah came off the bench last year in Chicago. Rose was rated one of the worst point guards in the league statistically. Anthony’s play last season drew significant criticism. If Rose was trying to compare his Knicks’ roster to Golden State’s, then he couldn’t be further off. New York won 17 games last season. The Warriors lost 18, including their run through the playoffs to a Finals appearance. And when you consider that Golden State is coming off of back-to-back Finals appearances, New York has some work to do.
Green: When Rose threw out the “super team” comment, it was possible that he was simply referring to the star power, and not actual play and results. We know the Knicks were horrible last year, but now they have a foursome that could easily rival some of the best teams in the East as long as they’re healthy. Injuries to Rose and Noah helped New York land both players for discounts, and pairing the two with the combo forwards of Anthony and Porzingis will definitely create matchup problems. Noah can handle the paint down low while Rose sets the table for his two star forwards. Remember that Rose is in his last year of his contract. We all just witnessed the mega-bucks contracts that players are getting in free agency, now that the salary cap has risen. Rose knows that if he plays well, he can cash in when he becomes a free agent next summer. I expect him to play at the highest level he’s played since his MVP season. If new head coach Jeff Hornacek can smooth out the rest of the wrinkles, New York’s games will absolutely be must-see TV.
Riley: This isn’t the first time that the Knicks have gathered together a collection of big name players for a last-ditch playoff run. This roster isn’t deep nor dynamic enough to rival Cleveland—but Golden State’s is, and that’s where the comparison ends. The Warriors are virtual locks to make a third consecutive Finals appearance next season. The Knicks could struggle to even make the playoffs if every star doesn’t align perfectly. The names are familiar but there are too many unknowns to place them alongside a group practically guaranteed to challenge for a championship.
Green: Win or lose, the Knicks are going to make headlines next season one way or another. The media attention and TV time they’ll receive thanks to their newly assembled foursome will put them in “super team” status. No one is asking them to win 73 games like the Warriors, but they will be expected to be good, and they will be expected to be more than a sideshow as they were last season. A lot of “ifs” definitely need to be answered. But the Eastern Conference continues to be a wide-open affair from which any team can emerge. The Knicks will definitely be a team to watch next season, and that feat alone earns them “super team” status.