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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Off the Dribble: For Knicks, Offense Is the Question

So I take the Knicks 2 game win streak, point at it and laugh, with numberz.

However, this early in the N.B.A. season, it’s easy for fans to make grand assumptions about their favorite team. Pick any part of the regular season, and you’ll find a series of games where even a mediocre team looks dominant. Last season, the Detroit Pistons, who won a little more than a third of their games last year, had six streaks of two or more wins. To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, two wins don’t amount to a hill of beans in an 82-game season.

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31 comments on “Off the Dribble: For Knicks, Offense Is the Question

  1. jon abbey

    the Knicks have trailed for a grand total of 39 seconds in those two games, against the defending champs and a second round playoff team last year, blowing out both of them. that’s more meaningful than just any old two game winning streak, although I do think it’ll be fairly meaningless if they don’t win tonight also.

  2. Die_Hard_Knick_Fan

    The quality of play that they have had in the first two games says a lot more than just two straight wins. If they can keep this play up (understanding that they’ll have some shaky games) they will be a formidable force in the league this year. I don’t think these two games are anything to laugh at and dismiss. This is the NY Knicks, the team that has fantastically begun the last 10 seasons by quickly throwing out any hope of a new start that fans thought they could expect. They way they’re passing the ball, shooting the ball, and defending the ball is more than I have seen since the mid-90′s. While I am still cautiously optimistic, I’m more than please with the level of play so far.

  3. Thomas B.

    “Pick any part of the regular season, and you’ll find a series of games where even a mediocre team looks dominant.”

    The same could be said of a mediocre player. (cough) Jeremy Lin (cough).

    Oh and when did last year’s Bobcat team look dominant, other than when they played the Knicks?

  4. Juany8

    If we’re just using numbers, why not point out that the Knicks’ point differential is +18 per game against 2 quality opponents? I doubt the Pistons had 2 straight blowouts against solid teams last year. Let’s also keep in mind that Tyson Chandler, the key to the defense last year, hasn’t really played much these first 2 games, and the D still looks fantastic. The only time either Miami or Philadelphia looked good was when they had players making ridiculously tough shots, like all the 3′s Holiday made yesterday. The Knicks simply aren’t giving up many easy baskets throughout the game, and that should stay consistent throughout the year

  5. Nick C.

    jon abbey:
    the Knicks have trailed for a grand total of 39 seconds in those two games, against the defending champs and a second round playoff team last year, blowing out both of them. that’s more meaningful than just any old two game winning streak, although I do think it’ll be fairly meaningless if they don’t win tonight also.

    I tend to agree here. The Pistons winning two games in a row is not the same as “any team being dominant.” (Though Larry Brown’s 20 something winners won 6-7 straight).

  6. lavor postell

    Juany8:
    If we’re just using numbers, why not point out that the Knicks’ point differential is +18 per game against 2 quality opponents? I doubt the Pistons had 2 straight blowouts against solid teams last year. Let’s also keep in mind that Tyson Chandler, the key to the defense last year, hasn’t really played much these first 2 games, and the D still looks fantastic. The only time either Miami or Philadelphia looked good was when they had players making ridiculously tough shots, like all the 3?s Holiday made yesterday. The Knicks simply aren’t giving up many easy baskets throughout the game, and that should stay consistent throughout the year

    This defense will not regress and if anything has the potential to become increasingly dominant once Camby returns which should be within a week (then again Knicks medical staff who knows). We can also expect a boost on the perimeter when Shumpert is ready to come back.

    Shumpert will be the biggest beneficiary of the Knicks’ acquisition of Ronnie Brewer. Iman showed a ton of potential and the raw ability at times to be a lockdown defender capable of defending all three perimeter positions at an All-NBA level. Unfortunately Shump’s defensive metrics weren’t all that great because of his high foul rate and poor instincts in defending the pick and roll. Brewer is an elite wing defender and I expect he will be sharing his craft with Shump.

    I’m terrified to think of what’s going to happen when Amar’e comes back from injury if this team is rolling, but if he agrees to come off the bench that would give this team an offensive boost to both its offense off the bench and the starting lineup. Yes Kidd’s numbers will drop and we won’t keep hitting at a 50%+ clip from 3, so our offense won’t be elite but it can be good and our defense should maintain a top-3 standing all season granted Tyson stays healthy and our…

  7. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Thomas B.:
    “Pick any part of the regular season, and you’ll find a series of games where even a mediocre team looks dominant.”

    The same could be said of a mediocre player. (cough) Jeremy Lin (cough).

    Oh and when did last year’s Bobcat team look dominant, other than when they played the Knicks?

    The Bobcats weren’t mediocre. They were craptacular.

    Also 2013 PER:
    Lin: 17.0
    Felton 13.4

    Don’t make me turn this into a widget.

  8. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Nick C.: I tend to agree here. The Pistons winning two games in a row is not the same as “any team being dominant.” (Though Larry Brown’s 20 something winners won 6-7 straight).

    4 of those 6 were 3 or more games, if that makes a difference.

  9. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Juany8:
    If we’re just using numbers, why not point out that the Knicks’ point differential is +18 per game against 2 quality opponents? I doubt the Pistons had 2 straight blowouts against solid teams last year. Let’s also keep in mind that Tyson Chandler, the key to the defense last year, hasn’t really played much these first 2 games, and the D still looks fantastic. The only time either Miami or Philadelphia looked good was when they had players making ridiculously tough shots, like all the 3?s Holiday made yesterday. The Knicks simply aren’t giving up many easy baskets throughout the game, and that should stay consistent throughout the year

    So you agree with my article, then?

  10. Thomas B.

    Mike Kurylo:

    The Bobcats weren’t mediocre. They were craptacular.

    Also 2013 PER:
    Lin: 17.0
    Felton 13.4

    Don’t make me turn this into a widget.

    Felton will have his turn to look great, Lin will have his to look mediocre.

    Oh and Kidd’s per is 33.7 after two games! What?! Say something about that. Damn near double the PER of Lin. What you got to say about that, Homey?

  11. knicknyk

    Thomas B.: Felton will have his turn to look great, Lin will have his to look mediocre.

    Feltons career PER after 10 years has been 14.4 So sure, let us cross our fingers that his PER will skyrocket to 17.0 this season of all seasons. If you seriously believe that will happen I have a bridge to sell you.

  12. PC

    Melo isn’t fat this season.

    Kidd thinks pass first.

    Woodson thinks defense first.

    Shocker, we may be better than last year.

  13. Juany8

    Mike Kurylo: So you agree with my article, then?

    I do agree that the offense is a big question mark going forward, although if the offense somehow stayed at this same level the Knicks would be the best team of all time, and I’m pretty sure most Knicks fans could live with just winning a championship ;)

  14. Juany8

    PC:
    Melo isn’t fat this season.

    Kidd thinks pass first.

    Woodson thinks defense first.

    Shocker, we may be better than last year.

    Our guard rotation for the first half of the season isn’t TD, Bibby, Fields, and Walker. Pretty sure you could change that rotation for that of any team in the league and it would be worth 5-6 wins easy. I’m beginning to think the only thing that could seriously derail the Knicks season is Melo getting injured. With Wallace showing some game and Camby coming back, Chandler should be a luxury against most teams, our perimeter defense and rotations are good enough to shut down teams like the Pistons (worst team in the league this year unless Drummond seriously develops IMO)

  15. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I just want us all to remember that a team with a point differential of +18 should win 82 games this season. 82-0, just like ruruland predicted. Place your bets, folks.

  16. ruruland

    I’m no Polyanna or prophet, and naturally the Knicks won’t shoot 50% from 3 this year, but there was plenty of reason for an objective person to have forseen significant improvement on offense coming into the season.

    The statistics are less impressive than the fundamental changes in the offense’s functionality, which for the people who understood the structural flaws in the Knicks broken attack last year, and how they were corrected in the off-season, should be of no great surprise.

    For the people who scoffed at the Kidd signing because of declining true shooting percentage without really having a clue of what he provides (despite repeated explanation); who failed to realize that not only was Raymond Felton largely replacing the worst 30 minute set of point guards in the NBA last year, but that he was a very good penetrator and pnr player who changes the entire complexion of how an offense operates and complements the skill-sets on the team; that Mike Woodson, like all coaches in the NBA, does not teach stagnation but, like good coaches, tries to utilize free-flowing ball movement in combination with individual shot-creating skills; that the Knicks would make a large jump offensively even if, somehow, they stayed as inefficient shooting as last season; that the talk of Carmelo’s renewed focus on fitness and work on off-the-ball scenarios was just that, then yeah, those people should be surprised.

  17. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I just want us all to remember that a team with a point differential of +18 should win 82 games this season. 82-0, just like ruruland predicted. Place your bets, folks.

    the funny thing is that you need to push me further out in the projection continuum so that you can slide in (naturally, after the results are in), to pretend that you saw this coming all along.

    We await your plagiarized Berri talking points….. er insightfull analysis.

  18. Thomas B.

    knicknyk:

    Feltons career PER after 10 years has been 14.4 So sure, let us cross our fingers that his PER will skyrocket to 17.0 this season of all seasons. If you seriously believe that will happen I have a bridge to sell you.

    No, I just think I can find a 2 game period where his per would be 17 or better this season.

  19. BigBlueAL

    I know the offense has been the surprise so far but Ive been more impressed with the defense. They are so much better defensively on the perimeter now (and thats w/o Shump being back) and the extra big bodies they have on the bench is a huge plus.

  20. max fisher-cohen

    jon abbey:
    the Knicks have trailed for a grand total of 39 seconds in those two games, against the defending champs and a second round playoff team last year, blowing out both of them. that’s more meaningful than just any old two game winning streak, although I do think it’ll be fairly meaningless if they don’t win tonight also.

    Let’s be honest here. If we’re comparing the team we played last night to last year’s Sixers, it’s the same one except they’re missing three of their four best players: Iggy and Brand are both gone, and their replacements — Richardson and Bynum — were both hurt. Lou Williams was replaced by a joke of a player in Nick Young. The Heat win was impressive. In golf terms, it was a double eagle. The Sixers win was a birdie at best. WIth Richardson out again tonight, anything less than a commanding win should be a disappointment.

    I still agree with Mike though in that our offense is just not going to stay anywhere near where it is. There are a few reasons for that: first, I KNOW the 3 point shooting is going to get a lot worse, and second, it will take more than two games for me to buy that Anthony is truly a changed player in terms of effort level, and last, both of these are going to become bigger issues when Stoudemire returns.

    ruruland:
    Now, amare injury has forced me to recalibrate my projection to the 49-54 range.

    ruru, you wrote that about a week ago. Has your opinion changed about the impact of the Stoudemire injury?

  21. jon abbey

    that’s a good point, Max, and actually I even think the Heat win was decidedly less impressive than it looks on paper, for reasons discussed previously.

  22. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ruruland: the funny thing is that you need to push me further out in the projection continuum so that you can slide in (naturally, after the results are in), to pretend that you saw this coming all along.

    We await your plagiarized Berri talking points….. er insightfull analysis.

    Do you remember when I correctly predicted last season’s record?

  23. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Thomas B.: Felton will have his turn to look great, Lin will have his to look mediocre.

    Oh and Kidd’s per is 33.7 after two games! What?! Say something about that.Damn near double the PER of Lin. What you got to say about that, Homey?

    PLEASE STOP REFERENCING PER PLEEEEEEASE

  24. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ruruland: With mostly wrong inputs, making it virtually meaningless.

    hah, I could never make a prediction that would have the right inputs for you

  25. ruruland

    max fisher-cohen: Let’s be honest here. If we’re comparing the team we played last night to last year’s Sixers, it’s the same one except they’re missing three of their four best players: Iggy and Brand are both gone, and their replacements — Richardson and Bynum — were both hurt. Lou Williams was replaced by a joke of a player in Nick Young. The Heat win was impressive. In golf terms, it was a double eagle. The Sixers win was a birdie at best. WIth Richardson out again tonight, anything less than a commanding win should be a disappointment.

    I still agree with Mike though in that our offense is just not going to stay anywhere near where it is. There are a few reasons for that: first, I KNOW the 3 point shooting is going to get a lot worse, and second, it will take more than two games for me to buy that Anthony is truly a changed player in terms of effort level, and last, both of these are going to become bigger issues when Stoudemire returns.

    ruru, you wrote that about a week ago. Has your opinion changed about the impact of the Stoudemire injury?

    It changed based on how much different they looked from the last preseason game to first two games.

    I didn’t think they’d get their so fast.

    Their overall offensive efficiency will be better than I expected because of the way they’re playing.

    to 56-60 wins

    90% against bad teams (bottom third of league)
    70% against average teams (midle third of league, you need to win 40% of road games against average teams if you sweep them at home)
    50% against good teams.

    You can also play the golf game like Doug Moe used to.

    Every home win is a par, every home loss is a bogey. Every road win is a birdie, every road loss is a par.

  26. Gideon Zaga

    Jon I cant believe you agreed with him and Max cant we be Optiknickstic for a moment. Ok lets see we got out rebounded, shot a worse ft pct and they even had more points in the paint. Yet we beat by 16. Oh u say this is flukish because they’re future HOFer Jason Richardson is out? Yeah thanks Pal.

    max fisher-cohen: Let’s be honest here. If we’re comparing the team we played last night to last year’s Sixers, it’s the same one except they’re missing three of their four best players: Iggy and Brand are both gone, and their replacements — Richardson and Bynum — were both hurt. Lou Williams was replaced by a joke of a player in Nick Young. The Heat win was impressive. In golf terms, it was a double eagle. The Sixers win was a birdie at best.

  27. Gideon Zaga

    Btw im more interested to see those who switched to the Nets side after the Lin debacle. I wander how that other side of the bridge feels right now.

  28. max fisher-cohen

    Gideon Zaga:
    Btw im more interested to see those who switched to the Nets side after the Lin debacle.I wander how that other side of the bridge feels right now.

    TBH, I disagree even more with the way the Nets have gone about building their team (and with the results) than I disagree with NYK’s. They have similarities. The Nets have just made more blatantly stupid or blatantly desperate choices.

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