Derrick Rose still “can’t believe’’ he’s a Knick again, his top choice, back with Tom Thibodeau and even Knicks senior vice president William Wesley, who was involved in him attending Memphis.
And he sounded delighted he can serve as a mentor to Knicks rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley — his backcourt mate off the bench.
In his first remarks to reporters since the trade, Rose said after the Miami loss he thinks the world of Quickley.
“It shouldn’t be too hard with him,’’ Rose said. “We’re similar. He’s getting double-teamed in his rookie year. There ain’t too many rookies getting that type of attention. For him to see that kind of early, it’s just going to make his game better. The game is going to slow down more. And he listens. That’s the greatest thing about him, he listens. With that, you always got room for improvement. He’s a dog. He’s a dog. I can’t explain it. You’ve got to be a player to understand it. We’re in a fight, I know he’s fighting.’’
After the morning shootaround, Quickley revealed Rose spent dinnertime with him and fellow rookie Obi Toppin.
“He just stressed to me — first of all he gave me his number — said anything I need just hit him,” Quickley said. “But he sat down with me a little bit, me and Obi actually, just told us he’s here to help us, he’s here to help us grow and things like that. It’s good to get a chance to talk to him a little bit last night.”
Rose reflected on his first stint in New York with Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson. Hornacek tried to get Rose to shoot more 3s but he wasn’t comfortable. Rose said he’s a better 3-point shooter now and hit 2 of 3 in his second Knicks debut.
“I was kind of being stubborn,’’ Rose said. “They wanted me to like shoot 3s and everything, but I felt like at the end of the year teams were going to judge me off of me being effective and my efficient rate. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t shoot 3s, and if you looked at the team at the time, we had Melo [Carmelo Anthony] and KP [Kristaps Porzingis], so I feel like I didn’t have to shoot 3s. My job was to push the ball and make sure that they got going. Years later, I feel like I’m adapting. … I’m more of a threat now where you can’t go under screens anymore. I’m trying to push the ball, and I’m kind of letting the game come to me and stopped forcing it.”
Now it’s his third stint with Thibodeau.
“It’s family here,’’ Rose said. “ I got Wes here. I got Thibs here. I got everybody that I’ve had success with here, laying down a foundation.’’
Several title contenders made offers for Rose, but he confirmed The Post’s report the Knicks were his top choice.
“Of course,’’ Rose said. “Even though I couldn’t say that at the time, I just wanted to be comfortable. I’ve been knowing these guys ever since high school, eighth grade, high school. I never really thought about anything else but really getting here and understanding they wanted me to help grow the young guys they’ve already got here.’’