Are The Right Players Sacrificing For The Knicks?

It’s true that there isn’t a single Knick who is lighting the nets ablaze these days. And it’s really unfortunate that the Knicks’ best offensive players are struggling so badly to find their range. Nothing can help the Knicks if they don’t hit open shots in the flow of the offense, and everyone from Iman to Toney to Landry to Amar’e to Melo should be able to forge secondary careers masons the way they’ve been laying down bricks despite getting clean looks at the basket. (I swear Toney is going to shatter the glass one day with one of his rocket launcher threes.)

After the Carmelo Anthony trade, both he and Amar’e averaged roughly 20 shots per game to finish of last season. This season, ‘Melo has maintained his 20 FGA pace while Amar’e has dropped to 15 FGA. The Knicks played at roughly the same pace this year and last. So Amar’e has clearly been sacrificing shots. But to whom?

Here’s a snapshot (courtesy of HoopData) of USG% of those Knicks who have played in 10 or more games this year (click for a larger view):

Same data, last year:

So, Amar’e has clearly sacrificed shots, and even despite playing some of the least efficient ball of his career, the shots he’s sacrificing seem to, at least in part, have been donated to two even less efficient point guard wannabes. The conclusion seems to be this: until Toney and Iman can hit wide open jumpers, it’s somehow better for the Knicks to allow Amar’e to just do whatever he does. Whether that be dribbling it off his foot, driving and get rejected, or barreling into a defender, those sub-optimal results are still better than letting the “point guards” see the ball.

Alternatively, Carmelo, our most efficient player, should perplexingly shoot even more.

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