Knicks Point Guards Hurting Offensive Efficiency

The inconsistent scoring punch of Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas is hindering the Knicks offense. This season Felton is having a career year for points, assists, and free throws attempted per 36 minutes. However his true shooting percentage (TS%) of 52.5% and effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 47.8% is significantly lower than the other rotation players on the Knicks. Felton’s 14.0 field goal attempts per 36 minutes is third on the team. He is backed up by Douglas’s who is sporting a low assist count (2.2 ast/36), weak shooting percentage (47.9 eFG%), mediocre three point shooting (33.7% 3P%), and dismal TS% (50.5%). Like Felton, Douglas’ inefficiency isn’t preventing him from using possessions, taking 13.3 shots per 36.

According to 82games.com, the team’s lowest eFG% (50.2%) is coming from the point guard spot, manned primarily by Felton and Douglas. Additionally that position takes the highest amount of shots (19.1 FGA). The next most prolific position is power forward (Amar’e Stoudemire and Wilson Chandler) averaging 17.9 fga and a 52.7% eFG%, while small forward (Danilo Gallinari and Chandler) is the most efficient (54.3% TS%) at the second lowest volume (16.8 fga).

Neither guard shoots particularly well from outside, despite the fact that they take a fairly high number of jumpers. Only about 20 percent of their shots are from in the paint (Felton 22%, Douglas 19%), where their eFG% is at least 100 points higher. Additionally neither Felton (33%) nor Douglas (34%) have been good 3 pt shooters this year.

Clearly the inefficiency of the pair is a drag on the offense. What is most disturbing is not the lack of efficiency, but rather the rate at which they attempt shots. Giving Felton and Douglas the right to out-shoot their more efficient teammates, especially from the perimeter, is like giving Bengie Molina the green light to steal bases. Donnie Walsh would be best served finding a point guard that can shoot efficiently, while running the offense. Until then, the Knicks, and D’Antoni in particular, should rein in their point guards’ tendency to take outside shots and get them to distribute more in order to give the offense a lift.