The travesty that is the New York Knicks

104-84. 112-92. After these two lopsided affairs, the then two time consecutive Eastern Conference Champions stared in immense disbelief. Has a legitimate foe to their seemingly safe throne finally emerged? Miami had suffered their first loss of the 2012-2013 season and their first loss at the confines of the American Airlines Arena, both coming at the hands of this surprising opponent. Stunningly, the latter occurred with the opposing team’s superstar draped with a fashionable suit instead of his blue away jersey. This was certainly uncharted territory for Miami, as they usually found themselves on the other side of this rout. So who was this contender vying to snatch the title away from the incumbent you might ask?

Image

The Knicks were definitely smiling then. I’m not so sure if they are anymore.

The New York Knicks. Yes the same New York Knicks who are currently 7-17 and have lost twelve out of their last sixteen games, including blow out losses to two sub-.500 teams (Boston and Cleveland) and an absolute gaffe at the end of game against Washington. Instead of battling with the Heat for the top seed out East, they are in the hunt with the Milwaukee Bucks for the absolute worst spot in the conference. For all you Homeland viewers, this is like the drastic turn of events from thinking you have maintained peace by capturing the most dangerous terrorist to then picking up the pieces a few days later from a devastating bomb blast that resulted in over 200 casualties. Will the Knicks do something even Carrie Mathison had a very difficult time accomplishing: resurrecting after the explosion?

All signs point to a resounding no. The New York offense doesn’t revolve around ball movement, as players such as Anthony and Smith rather rely on their dribble to create a shot. Last year when New York started the season an astonishing 17-6, only 15.8 percent of the Knicks’ offensive possessions ended in an assist, good for 29th in the league. The reason they were able to overcome this deficiency and still sustain good production is because New York was 5th in the league in three point shooting with 37.2 percent. And they relied heavily on the long bomb, with 34.6% percent of their points coming from deep. Only Houston got more of their offensive production from the three point shot. But just as the old adage “You live by the 3, you die by the 3” goes, how would the Knicks respond when the ball wasn’t soaring through the hoop?

Carmelo & JR ISO

Well we’re getting our first hand view of that this season. New York now drills only 34.5 percent of their three point shots per game. Instead of deviating from their reliance of the 3, they continue to be in the top 5 of three point shots attempted per game and in percentage of points coming from downtown. This continued dependence on the long game stems from their inability to obtain baskets through other mediums. They are 29th in free throw attempts from the game. But the most important flaw is that there is absolutely no player movement off ball. The Knicks space out a lot with their tendency to have line ups with 4 three point threats and one big, but aren’t utilizing it. Players with the ball on an island are usually accompanied with his four teammates watching him like spectators. When New York’s offense becomes this travesty where every player believes the sole way to score is to do it through their own dribble, they become very easy to defend and fall behind 27-9 to Cleveland and relinquish a 23 point lead to Chicago. A team with the offensive repertoire of the Knicks only scoring 9 points in the first 9:58 to an average Cavalier defense in the first quarter is absolutely unacceptable.

Image

Anthony receives the pass on an island.

Image

The possession ends in a tough, contested jumpshot by Anthony with no ball movement. Stoudemire and Smith haven’t moved at all, and Prigioni and Hardaway completed a soft, futile switch.

Even if they continue on this terrible trajectory, a few threes here and there could very much land them with an Atlantic Division title and home court advantage in a playoff series. But being a sub-.500 beneficiary to an awful division was not written in the cards for the Knicks. Sure Tyson Chandler will help shore up the post defense, something that is absolutely miserable against a team with effective penetration and offensive big men like the Cavs do. But his presence will not mend New York’s core players’ desire to trust their dribble over the pass.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “The travesty that is the New York Knicks”

  1. Knicks have screwed themselves over with the Carmelo and Amare acquisitions. All their lottery picks they have in the next few years will go to Denver and no one in the NBA wants Amare’s contract cause he keeps getting injured. The only way they can save themselves is to trade Melo and/or Shumpert. They are the only two players that can give any value back to the Knicks.

    1. Thanks for your input man! I definitely agree financially the Knicks are completely strapped. Really this is the team they’ll have for at least til the end of the 2014-2015 season. I will be surprised if Bargnani and Stoudemire take their early termination options because they’re not receiving anything close to what they’d get with NYK anywhere else. Even if Carmelo leaves, the team will still be over the cap. And you’re right about the Denver picks, so much for tanking.

  2. The issues you have brought up make sense: 1) don’t rely just on three’s (BTW there hasn’t really been a significant drop in their 3pt %) 2) don’t sit and watch as melo jacks up a bunch of stupid shots. However, there is a certain 7 foot bearded monster that you might have overlooked in the process of constructing this piece. Tyson Chandler. The Knicks roster last year only really had one big man that played significant minutes. You might consider Marcus Camby or those other clowns as being prominent bigs, but they weren’t so let’s ignore them. The reason the Knicks offense worked last year is because Tyson Chandler would be able to draw enough attention into the paint so that three shooters could just sit outside the arc, while Mr. Honey Nut Cheerios jacked up a 3 or drove to the hoop. This type of basketball is something similar to what the Knicks have been trying to achieve since the glorious days of Eddy Curry (granted that didn’t work at all) – Surround 1 or 2 really big scary guys in the paint with lights out shooters. Now this year, they have essentially the same roster with a few upgrades, Ron Artest and Bargnani. So why aren’t they as good now as they were a year ago? To me it seems like the answer is clear – Tyson Chandler is hurt (not to mention Felton who is actually nasty and really under rated). Without Tyson Chandler being able to draw attention in the form of a double team in the paint, the Knicks are left with Carmelo having to do way too much work. Why does everyone else stand around? Well because they don’t know any better. None of those other guys have ever had to do anything but shoot open jumpers on the Knicks. Bargnani definitely can’t do what Mr. Monster used to do in the paint, and he’s the only big guy they’ve got. So honestly, I’m not surprised that the Knicks are sucking as much as they do right now (I didn’t think they ever were contenders but that is not the point). It will be interesting to see what happens when Tyson returns. If the team can manage to figure out a similar system to last year they could start winning some games again. If they don’t the problem would appear to root itself in the coaching staff. At that point you’d need to question whether Coach Woodson is being the motivator and strategist that he needs to be. Lastly, even if the Knicks had that 2.7 % increase in their 3 pt % they still aren’t coming close to winning the Atlantic. Interesting first post.

    1. Thanks a lot for your input! I definitely enjoyed reading what you have to say, but I’m afraid I have to disagree. Tyson Chandler does make New York better, but not by the magnitude you have mentioned. You assume that Chandler’s the difference from this team being the 2nd-3rd worst team in the East to the 2nd-3rd best team in the East. If that was the case, the Knicks wouldn’t have gone 37-33 (their record spanning the 2011-2012 season plus the 1-3 start they underwent this season with Chandler in the line up), which is very average. The reason they were poor in that 2011-2012 season is because they shot 33.3% from the 3 and was 22nd in the league. Also 2.7 might be a small number, but it’s good enough to bring them very close to that porous percentage they had in the 11-12 season and from 4th in the league in 12-13 to 19th in the league in 13-14, which is a really significant drop if you ask me. So it’s as the 3 (not Tyson Chandler) goes, so does the Knicks. Chandler’s impact offensively comes via the pick and roll. His screens opened up the 3 point shots that were going in for them last year. Once they start going in, his rolls become an option for the Knicks’ guards. But the 1st option is always the 3. And with his 10 points per game average, Chandler is not as anywhere close to being the double team threat you pin him as. He certainly isn’t going to post a defender up and shake him up with his arsenal of moves. So I really don’t think he’s the resolution for this team offensively.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s