The New York Knicks evened up the first round series against the Atlanta Hawks at a game apiece on Wednesday night with a gutsy 101-92 victory. In front of the home crowd at Madison Square Garden, Derrick Rose led the way off the bench, scoring 26 points in the win.
Wednesday’s performance, although not flawless, was proof that Rose, 32, still deserves recognition as a reliable NBA rotation player. However, after he led New York in scoring in Game 2, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg was ready to take things a step further.
The Get Up host made a bold declaration about the former MVP point guard, calling him the best player on the Knicks.
“I would not have guessed I would say this at any point, but the best player the Knicks have is Derrick Rose,” Greenberg said on Thursday’s edition of Get Up.
Greenberg quickly got some backup from one of his peers during the segment.
“It’s not even close,” basketball analyst Seth Greenberg replied. “[Rose] is the key, he’s got to start… You’ve got to put Derrick Rose on the court because he can put pressure on the defense, make a play, make a shot. They play faster with better flow with him on the floor. He’s got to be on the court.”
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 27, 2021
Calling Rose the best player on the Knicks seems a bit disingenuous to Julius Randle, who was just given the league’s Most Improved Player award earlier this week. The 26-year-old big man averaged 24.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in the regular season and carried his team to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
But, in his first playoff series, Randle has struggled. That’s left Rose to pick up the slack from off the bench, which he’s done so far.
Rose might not be the best player on the Knicks or in the series, but his experience in the postseason and exceptional basketball IQ will be crucial for New York moving forward. The Knicks will need their veteran point guard to lead them later this week for Game 3 and Game 4 in Atlanta.