Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Jalen Rose talked about the Knicks, Nets and Kevin Durant with reporters at a Puma eventin Brooklyn on Saturday. The ESPN analyst said he loves what the Nets are doing. He also thinks Kevin Durant's free agency would have unfolded differently if Durant never tore his Achilles.Here are Rose's thoughts on those subjects, what bothers him about James Harden's preseason and who he sees competing with the Lakers in the Western Conference:
Here's what Rose thought about the Knicks' offseason and the team they've put together: "The goal is always to sign the top-tier player. If you're Duke, if you're Arizona, if you're Kentucky, you want to sign the McDonald's All-American. But if you can't do so, then you've got to recruit a team - like Gonzaga, like Michigan was doing before - where you develop the players," Rose, a Puma ambassador/consultant, said.
"So the Knicks, of course you want to sign (Kevin Durant), of course you want to sign Kyrie (Irving). And (Durant) even talked about, he was really considering the team (the Knicks) and then he was almost the lead recruiter. To the point where when he got injured, Kyrie became the lead recruiter. And ultimately, he ended up with the Nets. They didn't know he was coming, he announced it on IG (Instagram). The Knicks were in the conversation.
"So if you can't get those guys, to me you've got to try to get two at every position. And I like that they tried to get 10 or 12 guys that are going to show up at the game, like the Clippers did last year, like the Nets did last year, that feel like, 'I deserve to play and I'm going to play hard.' Then the coach, unlike having a No. 1 receiver per se, can spread the ball around. And then you hope to become attractive to other top-tier free agents that become available over the next couple of years. We don't know what's going to happen with the (Giannis Antetokounmpo) or Spida Mitchell (Donovan Mitchell) or a lot of guys that are going to become free agents.
"To me, they helped stabilize their situation to the point where they're going to gain respectability. It's a team that (David Fizdale) is going to be able to coach. They're going to play hard. And then now all of a sudden, when a star player becomes available, he's going to come join their squad."
Here's Rose on whether Durant's Achilles tear in the NBA Finals changed his free-agency decision: "It would have been different because if you're going to leave the Golden State Warriors and I know that he talked about, he appreciated the Nets style of play. But nobody's style of play with KD as a super-team was better than KD and the Golden State Warriors, so therefore if you're going to leave their team, you've got to be considering the storied brand. That's just how it works. And if you notice, in interviews, he's talking more about the Knicks than the Nets.
(It was pointed out here to Rose that Durant was asked questions about the Knicks during his interviews)
Rose added: "Hey, you ain't seeing… when's the last time you saw somebody go to Brooklyn and stand on the court like LeBron James and take a picture or Dwyane Wade and kiss the court? Because that's still the storied brand. Don't get it twisted, I appreciate what the Clippers and the Nets have done. But let's not act like they're not the B teams in their own market. That's a fact. And what changes that? Winning. That's what changes that."
It should be noted here that, publicly, Durant has strongly suggested that he didn't give the Knicks serious consideration.
Here's Rose on the Nets: "I love what the Nets have done because moving to Brooklyn they didn't have a history. I remember being on our show and saying, 'They got Captain America in front of the building? They shouldn't be able to play Mos Def, Fabolous, Jay Z, Big, nothing, until they get their squad together…. They've (now) created a fun environment and then now all of a sudden you've got a lot of young guys who want to play together.
"Caris LeVert was having an All-Star year (last season) until he got injured and then that became D'Angelo Russell's opportunity. So now I think Caris LeVert is going to really play well with Kyrie Irving. I like (Spencer) Dinwiddie. (Jarrett) Allen, he couldn't really play against bigger bodies so you bring in DeAndre Jordan because he struggled playing against Joel Embiid in the playoffs. So I like what the Nets have done.
"And now, Kyrie gets a chance to boogie. Going to watch Nets game to me, is going to be like going to watch Rucker Park. Kyrie going to be behind the back, between the legs, getting the ooos and aaahs. And he knows the light at the end of the tunnel and the train because KD coming back."
Rose on Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett: "I think Knox is slept on, I think he's going to have a breakthrough season," Rose said at the event, to promote the release of the Clyde Hardwood shoe. RJ Barrett, anytime you play alongside Zion (Williamson at Duke), people sleep on the fact that he actually led the team in scoring. So he put in work at Duke and I think both of those guys have potential. I think they're both versatile."
"You know what I like about both of those guys? And I say this as a member of the media but also as an elder statesman in the league, I always bet on guys that would be successful if they didn't have basketball. If you look at both of them, they come from good families, they're well spoken, they're humble, smart. They're measured. And they just happen to be talented athletes. To me, those are the characteristics that embody success and they both have it."
Rose on Russ and Harden: Rose said he believes the Jazz, Rockets and Nuggets have a chance to finish ahead of either the Lakers or Clippers in the West. But he has concerns about the Rockets' star partnership between James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
"The one thing I've seen in the preseason with their team that I hope doesn't carry to the regular season is James is playing like Russ ain't on the team," Rose said. "He's getting his buckets and he's balling like he's supposed to but it's not a partnership on the floor yet."
Knox, who is endorsed by Puma, also attended Saturday's event at Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The event, sponsored by Puma and Slam Magazine, featured a dunk contest on court that was on a boat.
Here's Knox on the Knicks' preseason: "We had that tough loss … and we had some rough film sessions. Got back at practice, and the next two games, even though they weren't (the result) we wanted, we just got better, we competed at a higher level, we got better as a team, offense got smoother, defense got better. Hopefully we carry that into the season."
Here's Knox on potentially coming off the bench for New York: "It's just a great spark off the bench. There's a lot of great players that came off the bench and I just want to be able to bring the energy. Come out there and give that spark, keep the game flowing for the first team."
Here's Knox on advice he'd give the Knicks' rookies (Barrett and Iggy Brazdeikis): "There's 82 games. You're going to have a lot of bad games throughout the season but you've just got to be able to bounce back. Obviously you don't want to have bad games. But it's just going to happen. You've got to bounce back and get on to the next game and get your mind off of it."
On donating money and Puma gear to his high school, Tampa Catholic: "That's something I always wanted to do. Just give back to my family, give back to my high school, give back to my city. I knew that was something I was automatically going to do once I made it to the NBA. I'm going to do it every single year. Just give back, give them money, give them gear, shoes all that stuff, traveling, everything. So I'm going to make sure they're taken care of."
Knox on the Clyde Hardwoods: "I like them. I worked out in them a few times and I finally got to wear them in the game. So it feels great. I'm a low-top guy. I've always liked to wear low-tops my whole life. So when they came out with these, I liked it a lot."
Rose on why he chose to work with Puma: "I'm big on originality. I don't know if there's ever been a dunk contest on a boat," he said with a laugh. "….I've always been a Stan of their brand, even as a youngster, my father was in the same draft as Clyde Frazier…I always appreciated how they always embodied urban America and became the pulse of hip hop culture." Puma has partnered with Meek Mill, Jay-Z and the late Nipsey Hussle.