Derrick Rose is a better version in his second Knicks stint

It simply doesn’t occur this manner. Not right here. Not in sports activities. It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who as soon as mused: “There are no second acts in American lives,” and he wrote that in 1932, which suggests he most likely wasn’t referring to any basketball gamers.

But Derrick Rose is disproving that. What Rose has achieved in 29 video games as a Knick this yr is utterly rewrite his legacy as a Knick. He’s completely altered the narrative of his first keep right here, in 2016-17, when he contributed 64 principally sad video games to a 31-51 Knicks staff that failed to go away even one lasting reminiscence to the town’s basketball posterity.

“Every time he steps on the court here he’s having fun,” says Taj Gibson, thrice Rose’s teammate with the Knicks and the Bulls and the Timberwolves. “He’s always smiling.”

There have been few smiles the primary time round. Sunday evening in Houston, there was a good second captured on MSG-TV of Rose chatting with Jeff Hornacek, now a Rockets assistant however previously his coach with the Knicks. They shared an embrace and bookend chuckles. While you couldn’t fairly hear what they mentioned, you possibly can think about it went one thing like this:

Jeff: “Can you believe Phil made me run the triangle with you?”

Derrick: “Let’s laugh so we don’t cry.”

You can’t blame every part from 4 years in the past on Phil Jackson, no matter how much fun that might be. Rose had loads of his personal points. He reported late due to a civil trial he was concerned in, he went AWOL, he was principally sullen and regarded most nights like the very best days of his profession have been in his rear-view mirror. He was booed on the Garden, positive, however even that felt muted, as if he wasn’t even worthy of scorn.

 Derrick Rose #4 of the New York Knicks dribbles the ball
Derrick Rose’s improved second go-round with the Knicks goes deeper than his statistics.
Getty Images

It is damned unimaginable to consider that is the identical participant we now have seen these previous few months. An awfully good reader named Steve Simenri requested the opposite evening: has a participant in New York ever had a first stint in city the place he was so disliked after which made their manner again to city and develop into a fan favourite? 

Short reply: no. This is unprecedented.

We’ve had widespread gamers who’ve returned for a thanks-for-the-memories victory lap – suppose Mark Messier with the Rangers, Tino Martinez and Andy Pettitte with the Yankees, Jose Reyes, Hubie Brooks and David Cone with the Mets, Mark Jackson with the Knicks. Tom Seaver returned a conquering hero in 1983 earlier than a clerical error allowed the White Sox to steal him away a yr later.

We’ve had gamers who didn’t actually do their legacies any favors by making their manner again to city for a second tour. You can put Darrelle Revis on top of that list. Nobody was a lot pining for Roger Clemens’ 6-6, 4.18 epilogue yr with the 2007 Yankees. Dave Kingman I, whimsical and crowd-pleasing slugger, grew to become Dave Kingman II, surly fan-baiting .204 hitter throughout his Mets encore.

There have been a few happy-ending returns. Lee Mazzilli had some essential postseason at-bats for the ’86 Mets after starring (and languishing) for the Grant’s Tomb version of the staff in the late ‘70s. Claude Lemieux returned to the 2000 Devils 5 years after leaving in a huff and his fingerprints are throughout their first two Stanley Cups.

And then there are those that made a dangerous first impression and a worst second impression. We can identify that trophy after Bobby Bonilla, who threatened to point out a reporter the Bronx his first time round as a Met and confirmed utter indifference by enjoying clubhouse playing cards throughout an elimination sport his second. Javy Vazquez definitely will get an honorable point out there, although. If Richard Todd had taken a snap his second go-round with the Jets in 1986 he would have, too.

Derrick Rose #4 of the New York Knicks looks on and smiles
Derrick Rose and the Knicks have loads of causes to smile nowadays.
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No, Rose stands alone. For one factor, he’s merely enjoying better. He shot .217 from 3 earlier than; he’s at .400 now. His assist-to-turnover fee was 4.4-2.3 then; it’s 4.1-1.2 now. His player-efficiency ranking? It was 17.0 then, 18.5 now. He had 3.0 win shares then, 2.3 in fewer than half the quantity of video games now. We may maintain itemizing numbers.

Or you might simply watch. Or hear. 

“He’s always been a team-first guy and winning’s always at the forefront, he’s always been a great teammate,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau says. “He’s happy when other people have success. He’s most happy when the team wins. And whether he scores two points or he scores 20 points, he’s the same guy.”

Says Rose: “The story is crazy but I’m just happy to still be here playing decent basketball. I’m very appreciative.”

It is probably not loopy. But it is distinctive. Derrick Rose’s second act is so good it’s like the primary one by no means existed. It’s better that manner.

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