Recently I had an exchange with another blogger about one Knick in particular. In our discussion, he mentioned that this player was hurting the offense because “the fact that [his] defender doesn’t have to guard [his] jumper TRULY stiffles this system. [The other team] can sag on cutters or on screens…” The blogger was describing David Lee, and needless to say I didn’t agree with his assessment. However watching the tape of the Bobcats game I saw exactly what this blogger was talking about. Except it wasn’t David Lee that was hurting the Knicks offense, it was Wilson Chandler.
In the video below, I show two plays where Chandler’s inability to score hurts the offense. Twice the Knicks attempt to run the pick & roll. And twice the Bobcats focus on suppressing the screen, leaving Chandler wide open on the perimeter. Unfortunately the only “Ill-Will” Chandler dishes out is to his own team. The Knicks retain possession on the first shot due to Lee’s tenacity on the boards. But Charlotte secures the second miss.
Over the summer I said that Chandler needs to improve his scoring efficiency by getting to the line more and/or being more consistent with his three point shot. However an injury sidelined Wilson in the offseason, so he wasn’t able to work on his game. After the first 3 games, Chandler is shooting a pitiful 12.5% from three and has a TS% of 40.9%. While he won’t shoot that badly over the course of the season, you can see why D’Antoni has inserted Danilo Gallinari into the starting lineup. Teams can double Duhon and clog the middle on every screen because there is no one on the perimeter to make them pay. This paid immediate dividends in last night’s win over the Hornets, as David Lee led the team in scoring (28 points on 17 shots). Shutting down the pick & roll is what put the Knicks in a tailspin at the end of last year, and the New York offense can’t thrive without balancing the threat between inside & outside scoring.