Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip."
Today's Burning Question: What will cure the Knicks' horrendous 3-point shooting?
In 2010-11, the Knicks ranked fifth in offensive efficiency. This season? 24th. While there are several obvious offensive issues plaguing the Knicks -- Carmelo Anthony's shooting, Amare Stoudemire's struggles and the team's lack of a point guard -- one of the biggest is the team's inability to make 3-pointers.
In 2010-11, the Knicks finished second in the league in downtown makes (765) and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (36.8). This season, they're fourth-highest in attempts (407), but rank 24th in accuracy (30.2 percent).
What's perhaps most eye-opening is that the Knicks are getting open looks; they're just not knocking them down. Who would've thought second-round pick Josh Harrellson -- who's a center! -- would be the team's best long-range gunner. (Maybe his hunting in his spare time has something to do with it.) In only 18.4 minutes of action before he got injured, he was connecting on one long bomb per game in 2.8 attempts (35.6 percent).
Harrellson has stood out because the rest of the team has struggled, especially Anthony and Toney Douglas who haven't been able to ride their downtown momentum from last season. After the 2011 All-Star break, Anthony had 53 3-point makes (42.4 percent) and Douglas had 68 (40.5 percent), which actually led the league during that stretch. We all know Melo is not feeling 100 percent. Could Douglas be having lingering effects as well from his surgically-repaired right shoulder, which he tweaked earlier this season? It still remains to be seen.
Whatever the case, Melo and Douglas will have to get their 3-point act together, and get it together soon. Fortunately, Bill Walker has remained somewhat consistent from beyond the arc since last season (38.6 percent to 32). But the Knicks need more perimeter scoring, there's no doubt about that. In at least the short term, Mike D'Antoni might want to consider playing Steve Novak. In only nine minutes, he's hitting one per game on 50 percent accuracy. The Knicks have to find the bottom of the net somewhere, and Novak is the next best closest guy on the team to do that. After him, it's Baron Davis, who last season shot a career-high 41.4 percent from beyond the arc.
The bottom line is: The Knicks can't have 3-for-20 nights from three, like they did last night against the Cavaliers, and expect to win by any means. They could learn that the hard way, once again, in Miami tomorrow night. While the Heat don't take a lot of 3-point attempts, when they do, led by Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller and James Jones, they're money at 38.8 percent -- the fourth-highest mark in the league.
What do you think will cure the Knicks' horrendous 3-point shooting? Leave us your comments below.
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