The basketball world’s reaction to Kevin Durant signing the Golden State Warriors was one of shock and awe more than anything else. A former MVP at the height of his game deciding to join the core of a 73-win team? His addition made Golden State prohibitive championship favorites, but also the league’s newest villain, a so-called “super team” of utmost proportions.
Other than the Warriors, the New York Knicks had arguably the flashiest summer of any team in the NBA. The difference between the Bay Area’s squad and the Big Apple’s, of course, is that the former carries the weight of title expectations the latter isn’t anywhere close to bearing – well, at least according to everyone but Derrick Rose.
In a recent conversation with NBA.com’s Lang Whitaker, the Knicks’ new point guard claims league followers believe New York is a “super team” on the level of Golden State.
Q: But with this roster now and all these veterans, what should the expectations be for the Knicks?
ROSE: They’re high. I mean, with these teams right now, they’re saying us and Golden State are the super teams, and they’re trying not to build that many super teams, and Adam Silver came out with the statement and this and that. And the expectations I think of us, we just want to win. Talking to Melo and all the guys who’ve been around. You’ve got Brandon who just signed for one year, he’s got to show why he’s there. I’ve got to show why I’m there. Joakim has to show why he’s there. Everybody’s trying to prove themselves. When you’ve got a group like that, it’s like, alright, I know everybody wants to do that, but we’re going to break this down as simple as possible, and try to win every game.
To be fair, the Knicks should absolutely fare better this coming season than they did in 2014-15. Kristaps Porzingis will be a year older and wiser, and New York will finally have a sense of schematic stability given Phil Jackson’s confidence in Hornacek’s offensive ethos. The additions of guys like Rose, Joakim Noah, and Courtney Lee obviously can’t go overlooked, either.
But to suggest the Knicks are shouldering similar pressure to the Warriors is absolutely ridiculous. Golden State possesses four of the top 15 or so players in basketball; there’s an argument to be made that Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson each make a more positive impact on the game than Carmelo Anthony, too. Notoriety also isn’t indicative of on-court ability. Rose and Noah might be All-Star names, but their games haven’t reached that exalted level since injuries to both players robbed them of explosive athleticism that once made them the MVP and a third-place runner-up, respectively.
Rose, as he’s prone to do, is reaching here. New York City is indeed a pressure cooker, and anything less than a postseason berth in 2016-17 would definitely be disappointing for the rebuilt Knicks. But for Rose to compare his new team to the Warriors – or any other proverbial super team, for that matter – is something close to laughable.