For the last week and for an indefinite period moving forward, the Knicks have tried to teach an offense without their point guard.
It’s not just that Derrick Rose is on the sideline injured and capable of absorbing these lessons — he’s sitting 2,500 miles away preoccupied with a civil trial.
The balance of preparing his team and not wanting Rose to fall too far behind has prompted coach Jeff Hornacek to “stall” the installation of his offense.
“So we don’t go over it again when he’s here,” the coach said.
To compensate, Hornacek has worked on other aspects of the game — timeout plays, end-of-game plays, rotation combinations, defense. It complicates things that Rose will command the ball when he returns, directing the offense and distributing the ball.
More than anybody, he needs a strong understanding of Hornacek’s “Triangle Aspects” system.
“As the point guard, you’re going to have to be the guy who sees everything, you’re the one who is going to have to make a decision,” Hornacek said.
Unless his defense attorneys unexpectedly call him to the stand, Rose completed his testimony Tuesday and theoretically could return to the Knicks during the $21.5 million civil trial. However, Hornacek said the Knicks encouraged the 28-year-old to remain in L.A. until the verdict or final ruling.
There was the potential for a mistrial, which would result in the restart of the trial at a later date – perhaps during the regular season that starts Oct. 25. But the judge ruled against the defense’s mistrial motion Wednesday, and Rose subsequently missed his fourth straight practice in New York.
The pace of the trial suggests Rose will be absent for Saturday’s game against Boston, meaning he wouldn’t debut at the Garden as a Knick until Oct. 29, at the earliest.
“Whenever it’s over, he’ll be here,” Hornacek said. “So we’re hoping that’s sooner than later.”
In Rose’s absence the last two games, backup point guard Brandon Jennings has made a strong impression — earning the first preseason chant from the Garden crowd in Monday’s victory over the Wizards. Starting two-guard Courtney Lee looking at the circumstances as a glass half-full.
“It gives everybody a chance to get familiar with Brandon. Because there may be days when Rose might get into foul trouble early, then Brandon comes in and we’re comfortable,” Lee said.
While Rose’s return date remains a mystery and locked into the court system, Joakim Noah is slated to play Saturday in his first NBA game in nine months.
The 31-year-old center, who on Wednesday was back to scrimmaging with his teammates after straining his hamstring, was responsible for infusing energy into practice, according to Carmelo Anthony.
“He’s like caged animal out there. He’s just loud,” Anthony said. “You can feel the difference when he’s out there on the basketball court. …His energy, his excitement of just being back on the court just kind of lifted everybody up.”
Noah, who was sidelined for the final three months of last season with the Bulls because of an injured shoulder, missed his first three preseason games with the Knicks after straining his hamstring on the final day of training camp.
“I’m a little winded, but overall I’m happy about my first day (back to fully practicing),” Noah said.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News