For the first time in years, the New York Knicks made it past the trade deadline in a playoff spot. And for the first time in ages, it seems like their fans have something to look forward to when it comes to actual basketball.
The Knicks made some interesting moves in the offseason and coach Thibodeau has established a strong defensive identity. That competitiveness and grit have helped the Knicks come back from the ashes, and that's why Derrick Rose and the team don't want to let the momentum go right now:
"We’re comfortable but not that comfortable. A two or three-game slip could end up getting (you) out of the playoffs. We’re cautious about that, what we have to do, the urgency that we have to play with every night and just try to play our game, play with a faster pace and just play together and we’ll find ourselves there. But we’re watching the standings," Rose told reporters via Zoom, as quoted by Yahoo! Sports.
Derrick Rose added that, even though coach Thibodeau is in charge of the talking, he's also stepped up and reached out to the young players as a mentor and a leader to try and make a difference and prove their doubters wrong:
"Thibs, he’s going to do all the talking, so he’s making sure all the guys are aware of what’s going on and give us very good details about what we have to do and preface every game. So I let him worry about that. But whenever I feel like I have to voice my opinion or be vocal, like I said, I pick and choose when I have to do that. I don’t want them to seem like I’m here and BS or anything like that. I just want to win," Rose explained.
The Knicks are currently half a game below the Charlotte Hornets for the 5th spot in the East, which would mean facing off vs. the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. That's a better scenario than staying at the 6th spot and meeting Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, and Rose doesn't want to leave anything to chance:
"I’ve been in a situation where it took us winning the last game and someone losing the last game when I was in Chicago. And then in Minnesota, it took us winning the last game to get in the playoffs against Denver and you just don’t want to be in that situation. So we’ve got to go out there and make sure we take care of business, play as hard as we can and see if we can get as many wins as possible," the former MVP added.
Derrick Rose added that he's not really interested in the new play-in tournament format and that the Knicks are currently locked into making the playoffs the old-fashioned way:
"I heard about it last year but didn’t pay too much attention to it. We weren’t in the playoffs and I don’t watch basketball like that. if we’re there, we have to play those games. But we want to avoid that and just try to win as many games as possible so we don��t have to worry about that. That’s our ideal choice if we can pick it," Rose concluded.
Barring a disaster, the New York Knicks will be back in the playoffs and even if they're not contenders right now, the future looks bright at the Big Apple.