NYTIMES: How the Knicks’ Offense Beat Expectations

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The other area that New York has improved upon from last season is turnovers. Last season the Knicks struggled heavily with turnovers, averaging 14.9 per 100 possessions, which was 27th in the league. By the same metric, this year’s team ranks first by a far margin with only 10.9 turnovers. Of last season’s team, the leaders in personal turnover percentage (with over 500 minutes) were Baron Davis, Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler, Bill Walker, Iman Shumpert, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries, Mike Bibby, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Josh Harrellson. All except Chandler, Shumpert, and Stoudemire are no longer on the roster, while Shumpert and Stoudemire have yet to suit up this season because of injuries.

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Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

16 thoughts to “NYTIMES: How the Knicks’ Offense Beat Expectations”

  1. It might just be “numbers filled gibberish” to some, but I found it to be a very nice read. This team is forcing me to adjust some of my previously held notions about what is needed to be a dominant team. I was big on rebounding, but maybe rebounds don’t matter if you can do other things really well.

    Thanks for shedding some light on the subject.

  2. defensive rebounding matters a lot more than offensive rebounding, there have been some good articles on this lately.

    off to the game, Shump Shump shirt on!!

  3. “As long as the Knicks continue to shoot well and take care of the ball, their offense will remain among the league’s best.”

    Shoot well and end as many possessions you can with a shot and you will have a good offense. Isn’t that just common sense?

    Thomas, rebounding is important, of course. Offensive rebounds in particular extend possessions and create more shot opportunities. But not turning over the ball means that more possessions will end in a shot attempt, and whatever points are scored on those extra, say, 5 shot attempts the Knicks average every night will raise their PPP. But by far, the reason for the offense being among the league’s best is that we are attempting and hitting 3-pointers at an torrid (and I think unsustainable) clip. I would guess (eye-test alert!) that turnovers are more likely to occur when working for a shot inside 15 feet than for a 3-pointer, so the two are probably correlated. I wonder, has anyone shown that there is there a correlation between 3-pointers attemped and turnover rate? It would seem that if Melo jacks up a 3 in transition rather than driving to the basket, there is no risk of a travel, offensive foul, strip, bad pass, etc. The only risk is missing the shot, which is substantial (60-70% for Melo). So, on balance, is he better off taking the 3 or driving to the basket? So long as he is shooting 40%+ from 3, the answer is obvious. If the % goes down to say, 35%, the answer might change. If it does, maybe keeping turnovers low becomes more challenging. On the other hand, maybe rebounds go up as guys shoot from closer to the basket.

    I agree with JK47’s post at the end of the last thread, and that the current high 3-pt% is probably not sustainable (JR Smith is already coming down to earth.) I also think that defenses will adjust somewhat. The Knicks will then have to go to other things, like getting to the line more and rebounding better. This is where I think Amare should help.

  4. One thing is for certain, no matter who wins or loses tonight, you can bet that the media will completely overreact. And if the Nets win, I can only imagine the over the top hyperbole – “Brooklyn owns NYC” “Knicks Now 2nd Fiddle in the Big Apple” etc. etc.

    So we better win this damn game!!!

  5. http://wagesofwins.com/2012/10/10/is-there-a-cost-to-offensive-rebounds/

    “In sum, it doesn’t appear teams should pass on offensive rebounds. Teams win because teams are able to

    •gain possession of the ball (i.e. grab defensive rebounds and force turnovers)
    •keep possession of the ball (i.e. avoid turnovers and grab offensive rebounds)
    •ultimately turn possessions into points (i.e. shoot efficiently)
    If you do those things, you win. In other words, offensive rebounds are on the list of things to do if you wish to win.

    Let me close by noting that offensive rebounds are not the only item on the list. And a team could win without being particularly good at grabbing offensive rebounds. For example, teams that shoot efficiently don’t have to worry as much about grabbing offensive rebounds because the ball is going in the basket.”

    What a team does with a possessions is more important than how how the team gets them. Rebounding is one way, but forcing a turnover is one as well. A team could be very bad at rebounding but if the team makes up for in other ways (get many points per poss, force turnovers, reduce their own turnovers), they can still win games.

  6. Does anyone know if you can stream tonight’s can online via TNT, or is that just for Thursday night games?

  7. I think much of the discussion here settled on one point not present in the WoW article, “prevent your opponent from turning possessions into points (ie hinder shooting efficiency)” The thought that one of the ways you limit the other team from scoring easy baskets is to get back on defense. For a team without a lot of elite athleticism, crashing the offensive boards might not make as much sense as getting back on defense. The Celtics were used as a prime example.

  8. But if offensive rebounding is not all that important then why are there good misses??? Good misses=potential offensive rebounds for easy putbacks but offensive rebounds=irrelevant. It seems logically inconsistent to deride rebounding but praise “missing”.

  9. presumably that’s aimed at me, and all of that is a real simplification of statements I’ve made, also out of context. there can be huge offensive rebounds (Reggie Evans seems to be full of these, Tyson too last night), and most misses are not good misses.

    also, I never really praised missing, I merely stated the incredibly obvious to most fact that a driving shot that draws two defenders and leaves a teammate open for an easy putback is the exact same end result as a made shot. I was ridiculed by THCJ and someone else for this, which still makes me smile.

    my overall thesis is very simple: most basketball stats are not nuanced enough, and there often ends up being so much noise in them that they’re not nearly as reliable as some people seem to think. they should be looked at for context, but merely listing TS% of different players devoid of context and trying to draw conclusions from that is generally pretty meaningless (as one example).

  10. Jon, it just struck me as ironic that you, correctly, point out that taking it to the hole and missing often results in an easy putback yet go out of your way, or so it seems, to ridicule articles and sites that place a high value on rebounds. Also it seemed that, not really you that I recall, but the game thread had a lot of pooh poohing of Felton’s 3-19, which may have put a temporary bug up my ass.

  11. Felton was pretty dreadful last night, 5 turnovers too (including some really ugly ones), but he had a hand, directly or indirectly, in 7 of Chandler’s 12 baskets (3 assists, 4 misses that Chandler followed).

    it is pretty silly that Felton’s line reads 3-19 and Chandler’s 12-13 for a career high 28, but that’s a great example of the holes in the way stats are recorded.

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