<
>

Opening Tip: What should improve?

11/13/2012

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: The 4-0 Knicks, the only undefeated team in the NBA, are obviously playing well, but how they can get even better?

ESPNNewYork.com asked Mike Woodson and Steve Novak this question after Monday's practice. Woodson and Novak didn't point to anything specific, but the head coach said he'd like to see his guys play well on the road, while Novak said it's all about staying healthy.

Woodson: "We've only been out on the road one game, so I'm a big believer in you've got to do everything right on the road to win. And we have been playing some pretty good basketball, and I like everything about the way we've been playing. But the road's a different beast and guys have got to be committed and ready to go once you get out on the road. And, I think, we've got three tough games starting with Orlando; we take it one at a time and see what we're made of."

Novak: "Nothing crazy. I mean, I think we're just trying to keep guys healthy, keep guys fresh. I think that if we can do that, that's a huge key for us. We have so far. It's early, but having the depth we know is what keeps us fresh and what gives us energy to go on the road. And having three games in four nights, and six out of seven away like that, we feel like depth and freshness is what's going to keep us on top."

From a numbers standpoint, the biggest areas where the Knicks can improve are rebounding and points in the paint. They have the fifth-lowest rebound percentage and they average the fewest points in the paint per game this season (32.0). As of right now, Carmelo Anthony accounts for 77 percent of all post-up plays.

Amar'e Stoudemire could take some of that pressure off of Anthony, but in the meantime, Tyson Chandler could be a down-low presence at times. In fact, before the Mavericks game at the Garden, he was working with assistant coach Herb Williams on back-to-the-basket moves. The starting center is quick enough to get by most bigs, and he has the arm length to finish over them.

Beyond Chandler, Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith have the speed and finishing ability to add to the team's points-in-the-paint numbers.

Overall, they should work on finding a balance between shooting and scoring inside, especially to be well-prepared in case they have an off night from outside.

Where would you like to see the Knicks improve? Leave us your comments below.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.