Monday, November 17, 2014

Knicks End Skid: Early Season Report

The New York Knicks finally ended a seven-game losing streak with a win against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. Despite an abysmal 3-8 start, the Knicks are remarkably doing a lot of things well. The triangle offense features free-flowing ball movement that gets the Knicks great open looks from three-point range. They're shooting just over 39% from downtown on the year, and about 45% total from the field. The main problem on offense hasn't been the execution of the triangle offense, but their lack of a trips to the foul line. They're only averaging about 17 free throw attempts per game. This number has to go up, as it did against Denver on Sunday, where they took 27 foul shots, a season-high. If they can get keep earning trips to the foul line, their offensive woes should subside shortly.

On the defensive end, the Knicks have done some things very well. They're averaging 3.5 blocks and 6 steals per game. They must close out on shooters better, however. They're currently allowing their opponents to shoot 42% from downtown. Prior to the Denver game that percentage was over 50. Opponents are also shooting 45% from the field, so while the Knicks are shooting the ball relatively well, they're also letting other teams get way too many open looks at the basket. Part of the problem on defense stems from the inexperienced play of Shane Larkin, who has a tendency to allow too much penetration into the paint, forcing wing players to collapse towards the middle. Larkin must do a better job of moving his feet, and not gambling, so that players guarding shooters don't have to collapse on penetrating point guards on the other team.

If the Knicks can fix these minor glitches during their upcoming games, we may very well see them ascending the Eastern Conference standings sooner rather than later.