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Don’t forget, the Knicks have serious issues on offense, too

Nov 19, 2013, 2:26 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v New York Knicks Getty Images

We’ve talked a lot about the defensive problems of the New York Knicks with Tyson Chandler out — and with good reason. In the last five games with him sidelined they have a defensive rating of 111.2, six points higher than their season average and 2.3 points higher than the worst defense in the NBA last season (Charlotte).

But their defense may not be their biggest problem (Chandler will return).

The Knicks won 54 games last season mostly thanks to a career year from Carmelo Anthony and a whole lot of made threes, leading to an offensive rating of 108.6 points per 100 possessions. This season they are at 99.7. That’s almost 9 points per 100 possessions worse (and the Knicks average 95 possessions a game).

Beckley Mason did a great job breaking down the problems at the New York Times Tuesday.

This season, the Knicks’ 3-pointers and free throws attempted, key indicators of offensive effectiveness, are down significantly. The decline is a reflection of how much harder they have had to work for their points.

The back-line defense of Andrea Bargnani, a newcomer, has been thoroughly scrutinized, but less has been made of Raymond Felton’s disappearance. Felton struggled with injury at the start of the season, and his jump shot has yet to recover. Perhaps more important, he has not been able to consistently initiate the Knicks’ drive-and-kick offense.

Whether Felton’s ineffective play is the cause or the result of the Knicks’ lack of spacing and ball movement is unclear. But the impact is obvious: More and more of the Knicks’ possessions are running through Carmelo Anthony in the post….

Anthony, rather than finding his offense on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers and cuts to the basket, is being forced to create his opportunities from scratch. Even for a scorer with Anthony’s gifts, it is a grueling, inefficient way to earn points. Anthony has labored to carry the offense, but he cannot be expected to score 40 points every night.

Felton is a little banged up and could sit out a couple games, but is health the only issue here? In addition to Anthony last year the Knicks used a lot of the Felton/Chandler pick-and-roll to create offense, except now Felton doesn’t have one of the game’s best screen setters to work off of (plus Chandler finishes very well at the rim).

Thing is, this is all correctable. It is still very early in the season. As ugly as it has been in stretches show me an aggressive Felton and some knocked down threes, suddenly things would look different. It would be nice to see Mike Woodson give more minutes to Pablo Prigioni because the ball moves better when he is on the court, but in the end it is Felton who, along with Anthony, must lead the Knicks offense back.

  1. leahcima1 - Nov 19, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    I’m curious as to why a team so bad not only this year but for the last 10, 15, 20 years, gets so much ink?

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 19, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      The articles about them get a lot of clicks and comments, so advertisers want to place their ads on these posts to drive more traffic to their websites, so websites write about them more since advertisers will pay more to place their ads on these posts.

      • leahcima1 - Nov 19, 2013 at 5:14 PM

        ok I buy that. Thanks.

    • zerole00 - Nov 19, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Dude it’s NY. It’s a huge market for sports, meaning more popularity, meaning more clicks on related articles.

  2. djflav303 - Nov 19, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    As we say in Denver, “Melo will NEVER win a championship.” Neither will we I guess. Whatever.

  3. vriv950 - Nov 19, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    The real leader on this team is Chandler. Melo is extremely talented but doesn’t have what it takes to lead a team.

    • sportsfan18 - Nov 19, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Come on now, the Knicks have offensive issues too?

      Never would have guessed that when their number 1 scoring option, a guy who takes a full one quarter of their shots as a team is ONLY currently in 201st place on the all time NBA list of true shooting percentage leaders. For those who may not know, this is the stat that takes into account two pt shots, three pt shots and free throws.

      J.R. Smith was out the first 5 games we all know, but last yr, Melo and Smith combined took 37.8 shots a game (Melo 22.2 and Smith 15.6).

      Melo and Smith took a combined 40.9% of all of the field goal attempts the Knicks took last yr. And Melo is only in 201st place all time on the true shooting percentage list, so now let’s turn to shooter #2 on the Knicks.

      J.R. Smith is currently only in 250th place (see basketball reference dot com, all time nba true shooting percentage leaders).

      So, when a team’s top 2 shooters take over 40% of the teams shots and they both are below 200 on the all time list of true shooting percentage leaders, OF COURSE they will have problems on offense too.

      • cruzan80 - Nov 19, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        And here you are on yet another negative Knick article….lol! What percentage of Knick articles are you not spewing your hate???

      • sportsfan18 - Nov 20, 2013 at 6:36 AM

        Hey Cruz,

        Those were facts, not hate. People might not like what I say, but it can’t be said that it isn’t accurate.

        See, ANY of us may look up via google the list of all time nba true shooting percentage leaders and it will stat where those two players are ranked.

        Me saying that is a fact. I’m NOT talking about Melo, his character, how he treats others, putting him down or the Knicks down as an organization (hell enough Knicks fans put down their owner/organization and hate on him for me to ever have to do that).

        ANY of us may look up to see how many shots a game Melo and Smith took last season. What I said and listed were facts, not hate.

  4. homergreenz - Nov 19, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    With Chandler out for a couple or few more weeks, the Knicks are looking like a 40 win team…

    Four Knicks that have played in the rotation (including Chandler and Kenyon Martin) with a PER over 15 (league average). Felton’s PER through 9 games = 11.3. Last season they had seven rotation players (including STAT and Sheed) with a PER over 15 and four more (including Shumpert and Kurt Thomas) with a PER over 13. This season they have ONE more rotation player with a PER over 13, Metta Artest.

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