Heat, Mavs, Improvement?
The Knicks moved to 19-21 this season after an encouraging win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
Prior to the Dallas game, the Knicks threw away what would’ve been a great confidence boosting win in Miami, who’s victory was largely predicated on their willingness to shoot threes, and the Knicks’ reluctance to do the same.
The 107-103 loss in overtime to the Heat was a reminder for Knicks fans that despite a
promising start to the season, there is room for improvement on multiple fronts for the
team going forward. Much has been made over the improved defense and effort that passes the eye test when watching the team, but statistically, the game-plans have to
improve if the Knicks want to reach even the 8th seed in the playoff race this year.
Miami attempted 42 threes on Friday, but the Knicks only managed 13 attempts – this
disparity further highlighted by the fact that the Knicks didn’t make a single 3 pointer until the 3rd quarter. Of course, attempting a low number of threes would be excusable if the team was having an off night – there’s no use chucking threes just for the sake of it. However, the Knicks hit 5 threes on Friday, shooting a good 38.5% as opposed to the Heat who shot 28.5% (12/42).
We all know that the Knicks have struggled mightily in defending the 3 point line this
season, in fact, it’s probably the most frustrating part of watching the team so far. Given that for the most part the effort on defense has been great, the Knicks’ players are doing themselves a disservice by giving them up.
A more detailed study of the Heat game, undertaken by reddit user /u/zounderk1te (1) , shows that the team suffers from multiple individual errors when on defense; this is compounded by the fact that the team has to constantly help on defense to contain opposition players who are allowed to drive to the rim far too easily.
Despite KP’s recent ‘tired’ comments, there is a real case for him moving to the 5 once he can hang physically with NBA big men down low. KP frequently doesn’t contest 3 pointers when guarding stretch 4’s, and there’s no doubt he’s best defensively as a rim protector, closer to the basket.
Anyone who has watched the Knicks this year will tell you that the team appears to flat out refuse to box out sometimes, instead ball watching and allowing easy offensive rebounds as well as long rebounds which lead to easy threes for the other team. Truthfully, it’s hard to say whether this is solely a coaching issue, or because of the inexperience of the team’s young players, but regardless it’s killing the Knicks especially down the stretch in close games.
|Rank||Player||Comments||Last weeks Rank|
|1||Porzingis, Kristaps||Please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured.||3|
|2||Kanter, Enes||The fact that Kanter is a double-double machine and McDermott is a solid bench player while Melo is averaging career lows in just about every category makes me feel so much better about this trade than I did a few months ago.||2|
|3||Lee, Courtney||Lee has had some monster games lately. Definitely picking up scoring void Hardaway left when he went down.||1|
|4||McDermott, Doug||McDermott was a big reason that all of the starters had a negative +/- while all the bench players had a positive +/- against the Hawks.||7|
|5||Beasley, Michael||If Beasley keeps playing like this it’s definitely going to effect the odds on Knicks making the playoffs.||5|
|6||Ntilikina, Frank||Up and down season, which is normal for a 19 year old PG. This week was a very up week.||11|
|7||Jack, Jarrett||Jack had a similar week to last week. He’s only moving down because so many Knicks had an even better week.||4|
|8||Thomas, Lance||Thomas has moved into the starting lineup and hasn’t looked too bad. No apology coming.||8|
|9||O’Quinn, Kyle||O’Quinn hasn’t been getting many minutes lately but he’s definitely been making the most of them.||9|
|10||Hardaway Jr., Tim||The Knicks have been winning, but they are going to need Timmy to get healthy soon. A ton of away games in January and against much better competition.||6|
|11||Baker, Ron||Baker came back and has looked like a 4M a year player. Take that however you want.||13|
|12||Dotson, Damyean||Looks like Baker took Dotsons minutes. Not sure how I feel about that. I don’t think I feel great about it.||10|
|13||Hernangomez, Willy||Willy better figure out defense and fast or he’s going to be out of the NBA in a year or two.||12|
|14||Sessions, Ramon||Since Jack is the Knicks veteran PG presense what value does Sessions bring?||14|
|15||Noah, Joakim||Parsons is averaging over 12 PPG this month, making Noah the official worst contract in the NBA.||15|
|Four games since the last rankings. 2 and 2 which is pretty amazing considering Porzingis and Hardaway each missed three games.|
|Rank||Player||Comments||Last weeks Rank|
|1||Lee, Courtney||Someone needed to step up when Porzingis and Hardaway were out and it looks like Lee was more than happy to take on that roll. Great week for Lee.||3|
|2||Kanter, Enes||Three double-doubles this week for Kanter. It’s so nice having someone down low who is able to grab seemingly every rebound.||6|
|3||Porzingis, Kristaps||Beasley did better than expected when starting in place of Porzingis, but I think we can all say thank god Porzingis is back.||2|
|4||Jack, Jarrett||Jack has definitely been this seasons most pleasant surprise. I guarantee that in the beginning of the season there weren’t too many NBA betting sites that had Jack averaging over 6 assists per game.||4|
|5||Beasley, Michael||Beasley backed up his words with a surprisingly good week. Color me impressed.||8|
|6||Hardaway Jr., Tim||Of course as soon as Hardaway starts looking great he gets injured. Knicks really need his scoring. They averaged just under 99 points a game in the three games THJ missed this week.||1|
|7||McDermott, Doug||McDermott hit 14 shots this week and only 3 of them were threes. Weird.||7|
|8||Thomas, Lance||The bench has been very mediocre lately. Not terrible, but no one has stood out either. Lance leads the ‘meh mob’.||10|
|9||O’Quinn, Kyle||KOQ did almost nothing on the court this week but I still love his energy.||5|
|10||Dotson, Damyean||Dotson got to start a couple games this week and even grabbed 7 boards on Monday. Progress.||11|
|11||Ntilikina, Frank||Frank had me really excited a few weeks ago. Lately….not so much.||9|
|12||Hernangomez, Willy||Willy played one game this week where he didn’t look like trash, tying his season long record.||14|
|13||Baker, Ron||Baker is back. Hooray?||13|
|14||Sessions, Ramon||We had a Ramon sighting this week. Rad.||15|
|15||Noah, Joakim||To everyone who got mad at me for criticizing the Noah contract: apology line starts on the left.||12|