NBA

Derrick Rose Joakim Noah.

Why does New York think Chicago's shortcomings can be their crutch?

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Derrick Rose was the most explosive point guard in the NBA. He is still the youngest ever winner of the regular season MVP award at the age of 22, and he was a hometown hero rarely permitted in today's league.

Joakim Noah was, arguably, the best ball-handling big man in the league at the height of his powers in Chicago. He won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2014 and he finished fourth in the MVP voting that same year.

These are two players of the highest pedigree that have proven themselves to be the very best at their respective spots on the floor. Rose was a breathtaking, refreshing force at the one-spot when he burst on the scene in the Windy City and benefitted from Tom Thibodeau's expert guidance.

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Noah, now 31, may have finished behind Blake Griffin, LeBron James and eventual winner Kevin Durant in the MVP race back in 2014, but none of those players had the profound individual effect on their side the award supposedly epitomises during that campaign.

Noah dragged the Bulls to contention and shouldered a two-way burden that has seen lesser men crumble.

And yet, Chicago has washed its hands of the pair this summer.

Chicago Bulls v Phoenix Suns

So why do New York believe these two men are the can rejuvenate a franchise that has underwhelmed so painfully for the past three years?

It's a somewhat convoluted answer, but it starts with placating a frustrated New York fanbase.

Faithful supporters in the Big Apple make up one of the biggest markets in the NBA and indeed, the world. Three years without playoff basketball is not good enough by a long stretch, much less only managing 17 wins during the 2014-15 season.

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks

The idea of the signings is better than the actual reality of them. Sure, both men have proven their worth down the years on the hardwood, but nostalgic platitudes suggesting that the Knicks will get those very same players are as far-fetched as they are optimistic.

The Bulls had a title-contending side with Rose, Jimmy Butler, Noah and Pau Gasol as their main four players. They fit and complemented eachother - on paper at least - very well. Only Butler remains of that quadrant.

The Bulls fell short of their goals and would never come closer to their first championship since the Micael Jordan era - ironically overseen by Knicks president Phil Jackson - than when they made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011.

BASKET-US-KNICKS

The very next year, Rose suffered his ACL injury and the Knicks' fortunes declined as a direct result.

So here we are: Rose, Anthony, Porzingis and Noah make up a tantalising starting five in New York. Certainly compared to recent iterations of the Knicks lineup.

Jackson has to hope that Rose can rediscover his best form - which he hasn't shown much sign of doing recently - and that Noah, now the wrong side of 30, can stay fit to man the pivot for 82-plus games, assuming the Knicks are now playoff bound, too.

This might be a short-lived project as Rose will be a free agent at the end of the 2015-16 campaign. Imagine the level he would have to perform at to earn another $94 million deal, even in this climate.

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards

There are too many variables to suggest this is a masterstroke of any kind from the Knicks. It has the potential to transform a franchise if the players in question play with chips on their shoulders, Anthony excels with a better supporting cast and Porzingis continues his rapid ascent.

But, that's all theory. The tangible proof of what lies ahead is a two-and-a-half-hour flight away to Chicago.

Topics:
New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Joakim Noah
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Derrick Rose
Carmelo Anthony
Derrick Rose

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