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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mike & Jim at NYT: Woodson’s Challenge: Scoring Production

KB’s latest offerings at the New York Times:

Perhaps the best display of the Knicks defense came Friday night as Tyson Chandler, en route to four blocked shots, terrorized All Star center Roy Hibbert (who shot only 2-10) and the rest of the Indiana Pacers. In that game Indiana shot worse from two-point range (38.7 percent) than New York did from behind the three-point line (44 percent).

New York’s troubles stem from their low ranking on offense, which currently stands at 19th in the N.B.A. It’s hard to understand what caused such a poor showing, because it’s not as if the Knicks lack viable scoring options.

Meanwhile, a guy who got a D in his last high school math class sez:

In his six, mostly middling seasons at the helm of the Atlanta Hawks, Mike Woodson wasn’t exactly known as a coach prone to freelancing or experimentation. Famous more for his isolation-friendly offensive system – a steadfast reliance on Joe Johnson helped earn it the description “Iso Joe” – and point guard leashes that bordered on choke collars, Woodson leaned heavily on his stars, and rarely delved very deeply into his bench.

Not surprisingly, the three games since Mike D’Antoni’s resignation have seen the Knicks retreat somewhat from their former coach’s run-and-gun style, and toward a more ball control-oriented, scripted half-court style. From Woodson’s perspective, having Carmelo Anthony as your go-to gunner must make marking up the most potent play that much easier.

But Woodson’s brief tenure as the Knicks’ skipper has also yielded some interesting deviations from his coaching M.O, specifically when it comes to bench playing time.

It’s all KnickerBlogger all the time over at the Old Gray Lady!

16 comments on “Mike & Jim at NYT: Woodson’s Challenge: Scoring Production

  1. max fisher-cohen

    Nice article, Mike. I feel like our offense has improved mightily these last three games, but it’s a lot to do with the outstanding defense allowing transition baskets. We are scoring about 9 more fast break points in the last three games than we average on the season. I doubt that is sustainable.

    What is somewhat sustainable is the better 3pt shooting, which should have a decent effect on our offense. We really need Fields, Anthony and Stoudemire (admittedly somewhat better of late) to recover their shooting strokes to have any hope of a top 10 offense.

  2. JLam

    I think Woodsen should continue to emphasis D and let the offense just natural evolve on its on then to try force an offense scheme. I like to see more full court press like exhibited in the Pacers game, especially against Miami and Chicago.

  3. d-mar

    max fisher-cohen:
    Nice article, Mike. I feel like our offense has improved mightily these last three games, but it’s a lot to do with the outstanding defense allowing transition baskets. We are scoring about 9 more fast break points in the last three games than we average on the season. I doubt that is sustainable.

    Great point, Max. Think about what Miami’s offense would look like if they didn’t get all those easy transition buckets off of steals (and in the Heat’s case, a steal=100% probability of a basket at the other end)

  4. ephus

    I do not have the stats to back this up (and would appreciate if anyone can provide them), but it has appeared to me that the Woodson Knicks are taking fewer contested jump shots. That would be consistent with Mike’s point in TFA that the Knicks are shooting more 3s and more free throws (since they are driving to the rim). Of course, this is an extremely SSS, so your mileage may vary.

    When comparing the MDA offense to the Woodson offense, we should also make an allowance for the fact that ____ played a lot of minutes early in the season and performed extremely poorly. At least some of the improvement is due to replacing ____’s minutes with adequate shooting. That improvement was part of the explanation for Linsanity.

  5. jon abbey

    “It’s hard to understand what caused such a poor showing”

    uh, the putrid pre-Lin PG play and all of the games that the guards have missed? Lin, Shumpert, Smith and Davis have played in a combined 95 out of a possible 180 games for a total of just under 2400 minutes combined, and their replacements were awful, it’s not really hard to understand.

    oh yeah, and the big ball of suck named Landry Fields is second on the team in minutes, only 51 behind Chandler in first. that ain’t helpin’ anything.

  6. ephus

    This blogpost, which provides shooting percentages for all points on the floor for this year, shows why substituting more 3s and drives for jumpshots outside of the paint has improved offensive efficiency.

    http://www.kirkgoldsberry.com/courtvision.htm

    To boil it down, the league-wide shooting percentage at the rim is 60%, and it falls off steeply to 40% when you get outside of 8′, except at the foul line — where it moves back up to 42%. Long 2s are made about 38% of the time, while 3pt shots are made around 36%. The extra point makes the 3pt shot a much more efficient offensive weapon.

    If Woodson pounds in one lesson — no contested long 2s unless the shotclock is about to run out — that would improve the Knicks offensive efficiency tremendously.

  7. nicos

    ephus:
    This blogpost, which provides shooting percentages for all points on the floor for this year, shows why substituting more 3s and drives for jumpshots outside of the paint has improved offensive efficiency.

    http://www.kirkgoldsberry.com/courtvision.htm

    To boil it down, the league-wide shooting percentage at the rim is 60%, and it falls off steeply to 40% when you get outside of 8?, except at the foul line — where it moves back up to 42%.Long 2s are made about 38% of the time, while 3pt shots are made around 36%.The extra point makes the 3pt shot a much more efficient offensive weapon.

    If Woodson pounds in one lesson — no contested long 2s unless the shotclock is about to run out — that would improve the Knicks offensive efficiency tremendously.

    That’s exactly what D’A's system was meant to do- he wanted as many shots as possible to be either in the paint or behind the three point line. That’s why Melo’s mid-range game was never going to be a good fit- there’s no shot D’A disliked like more than a contested 18-22 footer.

  8. Robert Silverman

    Jim, Jeremy Lin’s parents called. They’re worried about your grades. You’re grounded for the rest of the week. And no more aged whiskeys for you, little mister!

  9. limpidgimp

    nicos: That’s why Melo’s mid-range game was never going to be a good fit- there’s no shot D’A disliked like more than a contested 18-22 footer.

    More generally, a contested 18-22 footer has no place in any system or coaching strategy except as a last option.

  10. ruruland

    nicos: That’s exactly what D’A’s system was meant to do- he wanted as many shots as possible to be either in the paint or behind the three point line. That’s why Melo’s mid-range game was never going to be a good fit- there’s no shot D’A disliked like more than a contested 18-22 footer.

    The mid-range shot isn’t good for Melo because it’s a mid-range shot, but because it’a a counter to the drive and helps set up the post-up. He should pass up more mid-range shots, because, historically, when he has the ball in that position he’s looking at a tilted defense.

    Right now the problem is that Melo isn’t making any shots…. It’s not like he’s taken a lot of poor shots, and he’s been a great decision maker of late.

    You’re not always going to get a 3 or a layup, and I’d say the Knicks ratios of those kinds of shots is very good in the half court.

  11. ruruland

    limpidgimp: More generally, a contested 18-22 footer has no place in any system or coaching strategy except as a last option.

    Unless you’re MJ, right? he didn’t have a TS% above .582 after ’91, and was much more in the .560s and .570s range.

    Those are the kind of shots he lived on, but they did set up other things for the ENTIRE offense.

    Kobe takes a lot of those, too.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

  12. ruruland

    limpidgimp: More generally, a contested 18-22 footer has no place in any system or coaching strategy except as a last option.

    Also, unlike a drive, a mid-range shot is going to result in much less turnovers, and unlike a 3pter, it’s going to result in much fewer long rebounds to transition.

    It’s not all in the shooting percentage of the shot.

  13. daJudge

    Mike and Jim. So cool to see stuff in the NY Times. Mike, maybe it’s the dreaded, yet well-documented ‘Coolidge’ effect. Go Knicks.

  14. Bruno Almeida

    ruruland: Unless you’re MJ, right? he didn’t have a TS% above .582 after ’91, and was much more in the .560s and .570s range.

    Those are the kind of shots he lived on, but they did set up other things for the ENTIRE offense.

    Kobe takes a lot of those, too.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

    well, one of the guys you cited is the best player ever and the other is a top 10 player ever…

    and well, watching Kobe play I have a really hard time believing that his game depends on taking those contested 18 footers, actually, I don’t see any viable reason for an 18 footer unless it’s late on the shot clock.

    if you’re taking a contested shot, it might as well be a 3 pointer, at least it has a lot more value if it goes in, and what difference does it make for a talented shooter to attempt a 22 footer or a 3 pointer?

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