A quick preview of the game and a place for your in game thoughts.
The good news is that the 2010 Advanced Stats Page is up!
The bad news is that there is little good news in those stats for the Knicks.
The Knicks play the eighth game of the season tonight putting the team roughly 1/10th of the way through the season. So far, it’s not good.
Knick *sigh* Defense
I think we all expected the Knicks to struggle on defense; but I don’t think even Mike’s pessimistic side thought it could be this bad on offense. The Knicks are 4th in Pace (they play fast) but they are 24th in offensive efficiency (they play loose). There are any number of things we could gripe about–Harrington’s shot selection, Chandler’s problems from deep, Duhon’s problems from close–but the big problem in my humble opinion is the Knicks dreadful FT/FG ratio (28).
Compare the Knicks FT/FG ratio to the league leading Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets’ pace (95.7) is just as fast as the Knicks (96.2) but their FT/FG rate is double that of the Knicks (36.4). This tells me that Denver’s approach to offense is to attack, while the Knicks’ approach is to just take a shot. Is it any wonder that the Knicks’ sole win this season came in lone game where they made more FT’s than 3 pointers attempted? If the Knicks want to improve the offense, they have to attack and stop settling for just getting a shot off (Wilson, are you reading this? Great, pass it along to Al.) Back to the Jazz.
What to watch for: Can the Knicks exploit the Jazz defense?
Hard as it was, I found a ray of hope for the game: The Jazz defense. The Jazz are in the bottom third of the NBA in most advanced defensive stats. The Jazz have big problems with defensive efficiency and defensive FT/FG ratio. Of course, the Knicks are not running an efficient offense and I’ve already detailed the problems they have getting to the line. Okay, maybe not a ray of hope. A twinkle of hope from a star that burned out millions of years ago. But it’s still light.
What to watch for 2: Lee and Duhon (or Gallo) on the pick n roll.
If the Knicks have a bread and butter play on offense it’s the pick and roll. They need to go to this early as Boozer and Okur are not good on defensive switches. If the Knicks can get this play working, it could open up a few looks elsewhere on the offense.
What to watch for 3: Knicks’ interior defense.
Boozer is off to a poor start on offense this year. His eFG (43.0) is the lowest of any point in his 8 year career. The Knicks have to keep him from getting easy looks inside. The Jazz are not really lighting it up from deep. Only Okur (40%) and Williams (37.1%) are shooting over 30% from distance. If you combine that with Boozer’s slow start, the Knicks should be able to avoid doubling down low, and therefore avoid giving Utah open looks from outside.