Atlantic Notes: Walker, Rose, Mills, VanVleet

Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose seem to have solved the Knicks‘ long-standing problem at point guard, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Walker and Rose are both over 30 and have troublesome injury histories, but they’re off to a strong start, averaging a combined 26.8 points, seven assists, almost six rebounds and more than two steals through the first four games.

When New York signed Walker after his buyout with the Thunder, Rose staved off any controversy by saying Walker should be the starter. The question of who will close out games appears to depend on who’s having the better night.

“There’s gonna be games where I do score like that, maybe even more. There’s gonna be games where I don’t,” Walker said following Tuesday’s win over the Sixers. “There’s gonna be games where Derrick is playing super well, and he’s gonna stay in the game. It just is what it is. … There’s gonna be games where I’m not gonna get back on the court just because guys are playing super well. And I have no problem with that, especially D-Rose, the youngest MVP ever.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • After a strong rookie season, Immanuel Quickley is fighting for playing time again in a crowded Knicks backcourt, notes Mirin Fader of The Ringer. Quickley says proving himself has been a recurring theme ever since he arrived at Kentucky.
  • The Nets didn’t know they wouldn’t have Kyrie Irving available when they added Patty Mills in free agency, but he has turned out to be exactly what they need, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Mills, who signed for the mid-level exception, was considered one of the top bargains of the summer. “He’s a winner,” coach Steve Nash said. “He plays the right way, he’s experienced. Obviously he’s skilled, but he just brings a great feel to the game, with (or) without the ball. And defensively, he makes our team communicate better. He organizes us (on) both sides of the ball. So, he just brings a lot to the table, and he’s a great addition to our team.”
  • Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet was second in the league in minutes played last year and his workload has increased in the early part of this season, according to Michael Grange of VanVleet doesn’t mind the extra playing time, saying he spent the summer preparing for it. “I feel good, that’s why you put so much work in during the offseason,” he said. “I spend every hour that I’m not on the court trying to figure out how I can get my body ready for tomorrow. So just being dedicated to the craft and trying to figure out how I can be the best pro I can be.”
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