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New York Knicks Are Terrible, Will Miss the NBA Playoffs Playing This Poorly

The New York Knicks are terrible! Say it with your best Charles Barkley voice.”The New York Nicks are TURRIBLE!!! TURRIBLE I TELL YOU. Listen to me. Listen to me. The Knicks are TURRIBLE!” They don’t have holes, they have great chasms in the middle of their lineup. The way they are playing they aren’t going to make the postseason much less get anywhere near it. Here are the numbers for you. They are 24th in the NBA in their SRS rating. Their offense, their supposed strength, is only 13th in the NBA in efficiency at just 100.9. Their defense efficiency is 103.7, eighth worst in the NBA. Their defense is positively foul—literally. They give up the highest free throw rate of any team in the league. Their idea of defense is fouling. When they aren’t fouling their opponents they are scoring an effective field-goal percentage of 51.08 percent. On offense they aren’t sharing the ball. Their assist ratio is just 13.0, 24th in the NBA. Their pace is down nearly three possessions from last year. That’s significant in a Mike D’Antoni offense. These are not merely “stats” or “overreactions” to an early season. They are serious warning signs of a team in trouble. There are major problems with the composition of the team and these were notable but ignored before the season started. They are now just being manifested since the Knicks are actually playing. There are three things that the Knicks need to do in order make the postseason.  Jeff Gross/Getty Images First, they need to write the words, “Pass Me!” on all of their practice balls. That will give Carmelo Anthony reading material while he’s standing their holding the ball in isolation play. Without ball movement, the Mike D’Antoni system simply does not work. Second, they need to actually have a defensive system. You can’t simply slap a defensive player on  a team and expect him to magically make the entire team play defensively. Tyson Chandler is a very good defensive center, but he needs a system around him to show his skill set. It’s not just about effort. If the effort is there in practice, it’s there on the court. The Bulls don’t have the league’s best defense because they show up and decide to play defense. They commit to defense in the preseason. They stay committed during practice. The commitment is already there in the game. I don’t blame the players. I blame the coach. Chandler’s been great. He’s given up just .66 points per play according to his synergy numbers. That’s fantastic! The problem is he’s only been the primary defender on 32 plays. When the rest of the defense is between weak and weaker, the offenses are going to follow the path of least resistance which means anywhere but Chandler. Third, they really need to figure out a way to run the pick and roll. Toney Douglas is not a pure point guard, but he has to be able to get Amare Stoudemire involved down low, who is shooting more than twice as many shots away form the rim (11.2) as at it (4.8). Away form the rim he’s hitting on 29 percent of his attempts. At the rim he’s hitting on 73.7 percent of them. The question is whether Douglas actually is a good enough passer to run the pick and roll.There are other issues of depth, which really won’t be something the Knicks can address until the offseason, but the one thing that is certain is that merely getting superstars together isn’t enough to win a championship. There’s still hope they can make the postseason though, although in the increasingly competitive Eastern Conference, there’s a chance they won’t even do that, like the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, who made similar mistakes. 

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