Heat, Mavs, Improvement?
Written by Declan Ryan
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.