The Knicks’ first preseason game, in Houston today, coincides with the start of Derrick Rose’s trial. But for the point guard, he claims his only fretting is hammering home the nuances of the vaunted Triangle offense.
Rose, who is facing rape and sexual assault charges, has repeatedly claimed his innocence. And instead deemed his main focus is learning his new employer and teammates, as he’s confident his team of lawyers will do their job and get him exonerated.
The former league MVP said he’s in the best shape of his career and that his conditioning, in particular, is in a very good place since he incorporated yoga with his regular basketball activities. He added he’d do “penitentiary workouts” of pushups and situps to stay in prime shape if he’s forced to stay in Los Angeles during the civil sex trial.
Tactless joking aside, Rose said he’s also happy with the fact that his notoriously gimpy knees held up during training camp at West Point. He beamed when discussing his time at West Point, noting every time he’s on campus, it’s “all love” and a great place to clear his mind and focus solely on basketball.
The real life stressors seemingly havne't gotten to him, as he continues to proclaim his innocence. In fact, Rose acts as if the biggest mental strain will be trying to learn an entirely different offense. Whether that’s denial or hubris remains to be seen. But as far as basketball life is concerned, there is quite a challenge for the point guard. The Triangle offense is almost mythical in how difficult it is to pick up, as it’s not an offense that every player can learn and execute. Rose noted there’s “like 40 or 50 options” in Jackson’s offense of choice, adding “it’s a little bit complicated right now.”
The point guard related back to a time during a recent practice where Jackson actually halted the session and got out of his chair to properly show how to feed the post. Rose noted that Jackson “came over, kind of grumpy,” a sign that it’ll still take some time for the Knicks to really grasp the Triangle, as new head coach Jeff Hornacek tries to mix Jackson’s offense of choice with the uptempo, small-ball approach he used in Phoenix.
Hornacek said there's still a learning curve for all involved, even for the holdovers, but was confident that they’ll get on the same page soon. They’ll get that first chance, tonight, to see how the combo offense holds up against an actual opponent, Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets.
The new head coach said while he’s not certain about Rose’s availability after Tuesday’s game, he noted the point guard will fly to Houston, and believes he will play. Rose agreed, saying “in my mind I’m playing, but I don’t know,” when asked if he believes he will be available to play.
The next 48 hours will be crucial for not only Rose, but the Knicks as well. It’s difficult to imagine that Jacksonthought this would’ve still been an issue heading into preseason action when he traded for Rose in June. So, with the judicial system about to have a prominent role in Rose’s availability, the point guard may have more to worry about than how to feed a big man in the post.
- Joakim Noah had a sore hamstring and did participate in Monday’s session.
- Jackson is not only working on the Triangle with the entire team at times, but also providing individual tutoring to players. He was seen working alone with rookie small forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas on footwork.