Some Plays Count: Knicks Defense, Good and Bad

Here are two video clips on the Knicks defense in their home opener. Both show the Knicks switching on every pick. The first one is of the technique working, as Miami struggles to find an open man. The other is two possessions showing different ways the Heat took advantage of this strategy.

[Note: There’s no audio on these clips for those at work. I’d like to say that’s by design, but as you can see I’m no Gian.]

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Mike Kurylo

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

21 thoughts to “Some Plays Count: Knicks Defense, Good and Bad”

  1. Nice one Mike. Switching is particularly dangerous as a general strategy for the Knicks given their total lack of an interior presence or good help defenders. The more we’re going to switch on pick and rolls, the better the argument for Darko’s PT becomes.

  2. I hope they play better than this in the home opener Saturday than they did in the season opener. At any rate, I can’t tell if the same unit is on the floor in each clip for each team. What I can see is that in the second of the two clips the ball movement is better. It may have something to do with who initiated the ball movement. It seems things run better when Beasley doesnt move the ball at the top of the key. At least, I think thats beasley.

  3. You ever read that old marvel comic “What If?” So what if the Knicks took Alexander instead of Gallanari?

    Gallanari would not have been floored by Robert Traylor in the summer, he would not have needed back surgery, and could have had a productive rookie year, perhaps making the all-rookie team. When Knick fans watch Gallo spread the floor with the Bucks by draining 3s while Alexander is buried on this bad team, we’d all say “Aw man we should have drafted that guy. F.U. Donnie Walsh.”

    But lets just say with Alexander, we win 3-5 fewer games than with Gallo….if everything else breaks the same…5th overall pick maybe?…just right for taking Rubio or Curry in the draft. Perhaps that would not be so awful after all. At least we wouldnt have Hill.

  4. I miss the good ol’ days when the other team would use a screen with a guard plus a big and the Knicks big guys would just blitz the guy with the ball so hard and basically trap him with the guard who was covering him that he would essentially stop the ball or force him to pass it to another player on the perimeter who was covered and then easily get back to cover his own man w/o a problem.

    Ewing and Oak were masters of this.

  5. Great stuff, Mike. Lee was over matched by Chalmers on the first bad play. Seems like the second was Jeffries’ bad. Looks like the Heat’s spacing is a big difference between good and bad.

    “BTW to continue something from the last thread, could this be us in a few years?

    Interesting. Seems a little weird not to at least pick up the option with an eye on trading him in the offseason to some team desperate for depth and projects like Minnesota was this offseason, maybe for a late 1st or 2nd… Either they have absolutely zero confidence in his ability to get better or they are just confident they can resign him for a much more reasonable price tag.

  6. If Walshtoni actually liked Alexander before the draft, you have to assume the Knicks will be in line to give him a look this offseason… try to get him on the Summer League roster. Would be sweet for the pre-draft Gallinari/Alexander question to be answered “both” if they both end up develop… as unlikely as that is in Alexander’s case.

    Alexander had bad rookie numbers, but not inexplicably atrocious/pathetic. He did hit 16 of 46 3s (35%) (although with such a small sample size just one or two more misses would lead to a big drop off). His .494 TS% on a usage rate of 21 is unacceptable, but not “why in the world did an NBA team ever even look at this guy” bad (plenty of very well respected players have had similarly inefficient scoring seasons… even in their primes). He turned it over a lot, but that’s pretty normal for a raw rookie whose considered a project. Defense was billed as a possible strength: his +/- numbers are bad there, but he’s young and athletic so maybe it comes.

    Looking for Fs between 6’5″ and 6’10” before their fifth year (to account for prep-to-pro guys) who had TS% = 14, and TRB% <= 12 (to limit the PFs) you get a lot of players. A lot of crappy ones, but also plenty of good ones. A whole lot of raw young guys. Many of them had much stronger seasons than Alexander overall, but there could be hope if he's got a strong work ethic.

    Jeff Green could be one encouraging example of a lottery pick who turned it around after a rough start. A bit of a different circumstance since he was considered a polished player coming into the league. In his first game of this season he's already surpassed his Win Score from his entire rookie year, though, and that Win Score was 1/2 of Alexander's rookie Win Score.
    Other highlights on the list include: Scottie Pippen, Ron Artest (twice), Luol Deng, Walter McCarty, Rodney Rogers, Luke Walton (twice), Mike Dunleavy, Anthony Bonner, Al Harrington, Danny Ferry, Brian Scalabrine, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, Antonio Lang, Julian Wright, Lamar Odom, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes, Chucky Brown, and Monty Williams.
    So they range from at least one HOFer to journeymen, but there's some hope for Alexander. Wonder why the Bucks are so down on him…

  7. The Bulls aren’t offering Tyrus Thomas an extension either. I think the upcoming lockout changes things significantly…

  8. That may be one of the ugliest, worst quarters I’ve ever seen any team play, 5 quarters into this season, and I’m ready to give up on this team. Disgusting display.

  9. I tried watching tonight’s game on I had to stop. We’re so bad. Down 19 after the first quarter? To Charlotte? Wow. Stephen Graham is killing us. Who?

  10. This is amazing, how bad the Knicks are shooting. I mean WIDE open 3’s and long jumpers and they cant make any. The defense is actually what is keeping then in the game, that and Chandler missing layup after layup.

  11. I really wish the Knicks would just stop running. They’re less athletic and less skilled than most NBA teams. All they do is run around like chickens with their heads cut off and miss long jumpers early in the shot clock. Wish they would put together a coherent offense and actually play basketball. This kind of playground crap is barely a step up from the Isiah’s fun house teams.

    The Bobcats are a slow-it-down defensive team, yet they are 10x better at running than the Knicks, that says it all right there.

  12. Game’s not over yet, but here are three things that stick out:

    Duhon: 51 minutes.
    Douglas: 2 minutes.

    Chandler 4 for 16.
    Harrington 6 for 17.

    Gallinari on the sideline laying on his back.


  13. Yeah I was wondering where Douglas was. He can’t do what he do from the bench.

    Gallo’s time out of the game on the floor was probably more a function of foul trouble than anything. I hope.

  14. “Yeah I was wondering where Douglas was. He can’t do what he do from the bench.”

    Apparently riding the pine is what Douglas do… haha

  15. 2 min. left in the 4th and Zach Randolph is leading Memphis over Toronto with 30 points (13-21). Of course his man, Chris Bosh has 35 points…


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