"I believe we are a super team as well " says Derrick Rose. Super team or not, the Knicks (starting off 3-6 this year), are looking inconsistent and misplaced on defense so far. They seem to have the talent to be a super team, but can't find themselves playing well when they take the court. The Knicks look like a possible top 3 team in the East... on paper. But it seems to be a different story once they play a game. Why is this Knicks team so mediocre? That is the question every Knicks fan has asked me on twitter. They focus on running the triangle in practice, but never actually use it in a game. On top of that, the players don't even seem to like it. And in this ultra-competitive league, players have to be totally bought in on the system, or it's not going to work, no matter if it's offensively or defensively.
The Knicks have a bench problem
The New York Knicks bench is by far the worst in the NBA. They tried addressing that problem by adding Brandon Jennings and Justin Holliday. They have both started the year off poorly. Jennings is averaging 7.1 PPG on 34 %, and Holliday is averaging 5.0 on 35 %. They're supposed to be scoring options, but they’re just not getting the job done. Nobody on the bench for the Knicks is averaging more than 10 PPG, with Brandon Jennings having the most. Poor play from Lance Thomas, who had high hopes for the Knicks, isn’t making things any better. He's missing wide open shots and is only averaging 4 PPG. Coach Hornacek COULD bring him in as the 2nd option off the bench as the 6th man, as we have seen against the Raptors. Either way, in order the Knicks to be successful this year (or in the playoffs) it is necessary to either get the bench going or add a piece or two during the trade deadline.
'I don't care about the triangle ... Just show me what will work'
Another issue: Coach Hornacek is not using Derrick Rose correctly. Derrick Rose needs the ball in his hands, and not in off-ball situations. With that being said, Carmelo Anthony needs the ball in his hands more as well, in order to be effective. The solution here is doing more 1-3 pick & rolls when Melo and Rose are in the game. Porzingis’ problem so far this year is getting in foul trouble early in the game, which is causing him to be less aggressive in late game situations. Also, he needs to use his size more to his advantage. 7’3 is a mismatch every game, especially at the PF position. Look at the Celtics game, where half the time we saw Marcus Smart sticking Porzingis. We should have seen more athleticism and better post up offense from Porzingis.
Other than that, he's doing okay, averaging 18 PPG on 47% shooting and 42% from the 3 Pt line. His 6.6 REB numbers have been effective so far in these 9 games, and I would like to see him average 20 PPG and 8 REB.
If the Knicks want to be a playoff team, then the coaching staff has to do a better job of putting the players in better scoring positions and canceling out the triangle, which will allow much more pick & Rolls. That should get this offense going, and space out the floor more.
'Defense is everything with this team'
Defense, defense, defense! Knicks signed Joakim Noah to a big contract to try and fix their defensive problem But so far that's not turning out too good, and actually leading the league in opposing free throw attempts. New York sent the Celtics to the free throw line 43 times and sent the Raptors there 38 times. That’s not a proper defense. They are the 4th worse defense in the NBA, and opposing teams are scoring 109.78 PPG on 45 % against them. They also signed Kurt Rambis to come in specifically for the Knicks. However, his coaching style is to maintain the paint area and midrange game, not so much on the perimeter, where the defense is allowing 38% shooting on the 3. In order for the Knicks to be a playoff team, they must first get this defense going and stop losing every defensive matchup.