BOSTON – The New York Knicks got a bit of good news on Wednesday when a Derrick Rose was cleared of sexual assault allegations in a civil court case.
Rose and two other men were accused of having sex with a woman in August of 2013 when at the time she allegedly was incapacitated.
The alleged victim, referred to as Jane Doe in court proceedings, was seeking more than $21 million in damages. Rose refused to settle the case out of court, electing to go to trial which began on October 4 - his 28th birthday.
There was some concern that the case would drag on for months and thus keep the Knicks’ prized offseason addition from joining the team in time for the start of the season.
But with the case being wrapped up in just a couple of weeks, Rose will likely rejoin his teammates this week.
As far as when he will appear on the floor, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek indicated that there was no definitive timetable for him to return to the lineup.
But Hornacek and most Knicks fans were pleased with the case now being a thing of the past.
“It’s a tough thing he went through,” Hornacek said. “Now it’s over, he can focus on basketball.”
And Hornacek, in his first season as the Knicks head coach, can turn his attention to figuring out the best way to implement the former league MVP into what the rest of the club has been working on the past couple of weeks in training camp.
“When (Knicks front office officials) put the team together, it was Derrick at the one (point guard), Jo (Noah) at the five (center),” Hornacek said. “Jo’s starting to play now. Even though they’re veteran guys … there’s always chemistry things to work on. Now we get them all back.”
In addition to trading for Rose, the Knicks also signed then-free agent Joakim Noah this summer who was a teammate of Rose in Chicago.
They come to New York and form their own version of a Big Three unit with perennial All-Star Carmelo Anthony. And a fourth member of their starting five, Kristaps Porzingis, showed significant flashes during his rookie season of being a potential difference-maker in this league and a future All-Star.
New York is hoping Noah will not only produce on the floor for them, but also serve as a mentor or sorts for the 7-foot Porzingis.
As for Rose, the biggest concern for him and the Knicks now that his court case is over, has to do with him staying healthy enough to make a significant impact.
With him missing most of training camp, it may take him some time to get on the same page with his teammates and figure exactly what he can do to help them be successful.
But considering the potential fall-out from his court case, chemistry concerns at this point for New York is a welcomed challenge compared to the possibilities.
Despite playing less-than-ideal lineups for long stretches in the preseason, the Celtics have established themselves as a defensive power to keep an eye on this season.
After four preseason games, Boston has limited opponents to shooting 24.1 percent on 3s and 40.4 percent from the field as a whole, both ahead of every other team in the association. In addition, the 91.8 points they've allowed ranks 2nd in the NBA.
As I have said repeatedly, you can’t put too much stock into what teams and players do, good or bad, in the preseason.
But when you are a team such as the Celtics, who, on paper, look as though they will stand out as a strong defensive group this season, the fact that you can throw a ton of different bodies on the floor and still defend at a high level should not be taken for granted.
It speaks to the fact that what the Celtics players and coaches have been saying about this team, from a defensive standpoint, holds true.
They may not have a roster full of superstars, but their role players are very much superstars in the way they work together to achieve a common goal - to be among the league’s best defensive teams, from the starting five to the last man on the bench.
And tonight’s game against Knicks in New York will be an ideal test of Boston’s collective defensive efforts.
They face a New York Knicks team that has tremendous star power with Carmelo Anthony and new additions Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
But the new guys have been relative no-shows thus far.
Rose is dealing with a sexual assault trial and is currently in Los Angeles. Health issues have sidelined Noah, who has yet to play a game for the Knicks.
He is hopeful that he'll make his debut tonight.
Both of the new additions provide a much-needed boost of talent.
But if that talent spends most games watching from the sideline, instead of working over an opponent, having that quality on the payroll is useless.
The Knicks are used to trying to get by with a less-than-ideal roster.
While they’re not scoring a ton of points (103.0 which ranks 16th in the preseason), the Knicks are shooting well from 3-point range. They come into tonight’s game connecting on 40.9 percent of their 3-pointers, which is the fifth-best mark in the preseason. And New York’s 3-point defense hasn’t been too shabby. Yhey have limited teams to just 33.3 percent on 3s which ranks 8th in the preseason.
But the Knicks have allowed 105.3 points per game in the preseason, which ranks 23rd in the NBA.
A big reason for those struggles has been the absence of Noah.
The former Chicago Bulls big man signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks in the offseason, but ankle and hamstring injuries have kept out.
”I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Noah told reporters following Friday’s practice.
The Knicks will likely be without Rose until next week.
“We talked to Derrick and kind of covered things we need to cover,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters. “And at this point, we’re not going to send anybody [to Los Angeles to work with Rose]. We’re hoping he’s back early next week.”