Preview: Knicks vs. Suns

Record: 11-4

  • Offense: 1
  • Defense: 11
  • Overall: 2

Record: 7-10

  • Offense: 16
  • Defense: 26
  • Overall: 25

***

Something’s gotta give:

A few loggerheads in the rankings to watch today:

  1. Neither team turns the ball over. Knicks turnover rate is, per usual, 1st. Suns rank 4th. If one team can take away the other’s strength here it should provide them a boost. In that regard the Knicks are 4th in opponent’s turnover rate and the Suns aren’t too bad either, at 13th.
  2. Pace. The Suns are fast (5th). The Knicks are slow (28th). Which team will impose its will on the other?
  3. The Knicks rank 3rd in eFG% (effective field goal percentage – FG% factoring in the added value of 3 pointers). The Suns seem to do an awful job of chasing teams off the 3 point line (28th in OppeFG%). If the Suns are going to cede the Knicks’ biggest strength – the Knicks take the largest percentage of their shots from deep of any team in the league (and the shots actually continue to fall) – it could mean another blowout win at the Garden.

***

Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and John Hollinger’s Power Rankings, respectively. Hollinger’s method.

Source: NBA.com/stats; Espn.com

 

Preview: Knicks vs. Wizards

  • Offense: 1
  • Defense: 14
  • Overall: 2

 

 

 

 

  • Offense: 30
  • Defense: 15
  • Overall: 30

***

Something’s gotta give:

The Wizards are the worst team in the league, they have ONE win, the Friday Night Knicks curse must give tonight.

That being said, while the Wizards are the worst offensive team in the league their defense isn’t half bad coming in ranked 15th, one behind the Knicks. Look for a very slow paced game as both teams rank in the bottom tier of the league in pace.

The Wizards are a sorry excuse for a basketball team, unless Robert Randolph goes super-saiyan with his Friday Night Knicks Curse the Knicks should win this game in blowout fashion and hold the Wizards under 90 points.

***

Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and John Hollinger’s Power Rankings, respectively. Hollinger’s method.

Source: NBA.com/stats; Espn.com

 

Preview: Knicks vs. Nets

And thus the hour approacheth. The Knickerbockers laceth up their sneakers and prepareth the first salvo in a battle for supremacy over the city of York the Neweth, against the Nets’ forces that encroacheth closer now than the parched waste-dungeons to the west, where they once wereth.

Eth.

Record: 9-3

  • Offense: 1
  • Defense: 18 :(
  • Overall: 2

8-4

  • Offense: 6
  • Defense: 19
  • Overall: 9

***

Something’s gotta give:

  • The Nets get a lot of second chance points. They rank 7th in the league in OffReb%. The Knicks, as we know, are smallish, but they corral a fair amount defensive rebounds (10th in DefReb%). Can the Knicks keep New Jersey off the offensive glass?
  • Turnovers:
    • The Nets rank 24th in points off turnovers. The Knicks rank first in turnover rate.
      • Can the Knicks capitalize tonight by combining their care with the ball with the Nets’ ineptitude in converting on turnovers?
    • The Nets are 9th in turnover rate. The Knicks force turnovers at the third highest rate and are the 5th most efficient in converting them into points.
      •  Can the Knicks coerce the Nets to cough up more turnovers then they’re ordinarily prone to (>14ish, adjusted for pace) in order to capitalize on their own efficiency in converting turnovers?
  • Expect a slow game. Both teams are in the bottom five in pace.

***

Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and John Hollinger’s Power Rankings, respectively (which tells you far more than just NetRtg, which I was previously using). Hollinger’s method.

Source: NBA.com/stats; Espn.com

Preview: Knicks vs. Pistons

  • Offense: 2
  • Defense: 17
  • Overall: 1

  • Offense: 26
  • Defense: 21
  • Overall: 27

The Pistons aren’t any good at playing basketball. But let’s see…they, um, rank 11th in the league in pace-adjusted fouls drawn…and 10th in free throws attempted. So, um, the Knicks need to be careful not to get into foul trouble*, I guess. On the other hand the Pistons rank 26th in FT%. Did I mention that the Pistons aren’t any good? In my last blog post I cautioned everyone not panic about the Knicks recent swoon, but I will personally panic if they lose this game.

Also, the last time I did one of these previews the Knicks were 4th in DRtg…c’mon guys – that was 2 games ago!

* I checked for the hell of it: The Knicks commit the third least fouls in the NBA…really, the Knicks should walk all over the Pistons.

***

Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and NetRtg, respectively.

Source: NBA.com/stats

So, should we panic?

The Knicks started off the season 6-0 and were rightfully the talk of the league. Some shell-shocked Knicks fans were in a state of disbelief but wanted to tell ourselves that as long as the the squad continued to play elite defense and took care of the ball, they could weather some inevitable ups and downs in the scorching three point percentage that had carried them to a league leading point differential. Through their first six games the Knicks ranked second in DRtg, and first in turnover rate. Indeed, their league leading ranking in 3PM and 3PT% were gravy.

But since that scorching start the Knicks are 2-3 and some of those 3 have been U-G-L-Y, particularly the loss last night against Houston, which brought back memories of this. What’s happened in the past five games? Facially it’s just clear that the Knicks aren’t shooting as well, and have collapsed on D. In other words, the Knicks have suffered a breakdown from the lofty heights that led them to such a hot start. Specifically, in the 5 games since November 16th, the Knicks:

  • regressed to 11th in 3PT%, even though they’ve continued to shoot more threes than any other team; and
  • ranked better than just 5 other teams on defense based on DRtg.

Cause to panic? Not necessarily. Based on what I’ve and others (like Clyde) have observed over the most recent stretch, I went into this post assuming I’d write about how the Knicks haven’t been passing anymore, and that they’ve started to turn the ball over at an alarming rate, but neither is true. While the Knicks ranked best in turnover rate over the first six games, they’re worse than just 3 other teams over the most recent five. And the Knicks are actually 2 spots better in assist rate than they were in their first six games (from 18th to 16th – no great shakes either way).

Bottom line? 11th place in 3PT% is decent, but much less than ideal if the Knicks are going to continue shooting more threes than anyone else. Last night, 45% of the Knicks attempts came from deep – when did the Knicks bring Mike D’Antoni back? The Knicks need to diversify their offense. That is especially the case if they are going to continue to struggle defensively (after last night’s game the Knicks are ranked 17th in the league!). On that front, with the personnel they have there’s no reason the Knicks shouldn’t ultimately settle in closer to first than 25th. If they can right the ship on D, continue to limit the turnovers, and diversify their offense a bit, I think we can still expect great things.

Preview: Knicks vs. Mavs

  • Offense: 1
  • Defense: 4
  • Overall: 1

  • Offense: 11
  • Defense: 20
  • Overall: 15

***

Seems like the Mavs really fell off a cliff since the Knicks humbled them on November 9th. The Mavs entered that game 4-1 and are 2-5 since. They’re also one of the few teams ranked worse than the Knicks in rebound rate (23rd vs 28th). The Knicks also have the advantage when it comes to turnovers (1st vs. 13th), and when the Mavs do turn it over they’re likely to cough up points (20th in pace-adjusted opponents’ points off TOs) so look for the Knicks to may hay by forcing the Mavs into errors (although the Knicks aren’t that efficient in converting opportunities off of TOs – 14th).

Another prediction: The Mavs will not hurt the Knicks inside. Not only are the Mavs 22nd in points in the paint (not really surprising considering their personnel), the Knicks keep teams from scoring in there to the tune of 6th best in the league. If the Knicks keep up their excellent perimeter defense, this should be another gimme.

***

Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and NetRtg, respectively.

Source: NBA.com/stats

 

Preview: Knicks vs. Hornets

  • Offense: 2
  • Defense: 6
  • Overall: 1

  • Offense: 13
  • Defense: 24
  • Overall: 18

***

Something’s gotta give:

Trying to come up with a “something’s gotta give” for tonight’s game was an epic fail. The Hornets appear to be ranked middling or worse in most categories and if the Knicks don’t dismantle them then something will have gone terribly wrong.

At Jon’s suggestion I’ll go with Anthony Davis’s unibrow vs. Jason Kidd’s headband.

There’s this though: expect a low score. The Knicks rank 29th in pace and the Hornets rank 28th.

***

Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and NetRtg, respectively.

Source: NBA.com/stats

Preview: Knicks vs. Pacers

  • Offense: 1
  • Defense: 9
  • Overall: 1

  • Offense: 29
  • Defense: 1
  • Overall: 20

***

Something’s gotta give:

  • After last night’s flagellation at the hands of the Grizzly Bears the Knicks DRtg dropped from 2nd to 9th. Surprisingly, the Pacers rank first in that metric and something is going to have to give against the Knicks’ still-peerless O.
  • The Grizzlies demolished the Knicks on the glass and that played on a big part in New York’s demise. The Pacers rank third in rebound rate, or the percentage of available total rebounds collected. The Knicks? 28th.
  • The Knicks are still tops in the league with respect to taking care of the ball, the Pacers rank 24th. Look for some ball hawking leading to extra possessions to be a key to a Knicks’ victory.

***

Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and NetRtg, respectively.

Source: NBA.com/stats

Preview: Knicks vs. Grizzlies

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Overall: 1

 

Offense: 6

Defense: 6

Overall: 3

***

After last night’s game vs. San Antonio the Knicks dropped to second place in DRtg (the Timberwolves got the juice, now).

***

Something’s gotta give:

  • Knicks are 26th overall in pace. The Grizzlies are 6th.
  • The Knicks are dead last in rebound rate (% of available rebounds gathered). The Grizzlies are 5th.
  • The Knicks force the 3rd most turnovers. The Grizzlies are 3rd best in TO%.

***

Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and NetRtg, respectively.

Source: NBA.com/stats