Opening Tip: A top 10 D?

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
8:00
AM ET
Mike Woodson wants the Knicks to finish in the top 10 in defense this season.

Historically speaking, that's a solid threshold to strive for.

As Grantland's Zach Lowe points out in his in-depth look at the Knicks' defense, and their future, teams who finish in the top 10 in defensive efficiency have a better chance of postseason success.

Lowe writes that, since 1990, only two teams that ranked outside of the top 10 in points allowed per possession have won the title. In that same time frame, only 15 teams who ranked outside of the top 10 in defensive efficiency made the conference finals.

[+] EnlargePhil Pressey, C.J. Leslie
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaCan the Knicks play top 10 defense this season?
So Woodson's right to get his players thinking about finishing in the top 10 in defense.

But is that goal realistic?

If this year's Knicks are anything like last year's, it's not going to be easy to finish in the top 10.

The 2012-13 Knicks finished 16th in defensive efficiency, or points allowed per 100 possessions.

They allowed opponents to shoot 45.8 percent from the floor, good for 19th in the NBA.

They also ranked dead last in 3-point attempts allowed per field goal attempt -- an indication that they left shooters open way too often.

Woodson hopes to limit team's 3-point attempts -- and their open looks in general -- by using fewer double-teams this year.

"I would like to get back to that where we don't have to [use them] as much," he said Monday.

Generally speaking, Woodson should have a better set of defenders to work with this season. Metta World Peace may not be in his prime but he still has a great set of hands and a strong frame. Iman Shumpert is one of the top young perimeter defenders in the league.

So maybe those two can the Knicks' pick and roll defense and their rotations on the perimeter.

Carmelo Anthony, for one, is optimistic that New York can get it together on defense this year.

"[Some of] the guys that were apart of that [stretch] when we were top-10 defense at the beginning of the season [are back]. It's not hard for us to get back there," Anthony said. "We were there at one point in the season and, for whatever reason, we dropped out of that. We want to get back to that. That's our goal and we want to stay there."

That brings us to today's question: are you as optimistic as Anthony? Do you think the Knicks can be a top-10 defense this season?

UP NOW: Iman Shumpert got rid of his flattop, which had become a fan favorite. Mike Woodson would like to see Shumpert be smarter on defense and improve his pick-and-roll offense. Woodson also said that the Knicks will continue to be cautious with veteran Kenyon Martin and he'd like to use fewer double teams on defense this year. In non-basketball news, Madison Square Garden released photos of the suspended above the playing surface.

Lastly, we ask you guys if you think Carmelo Anthony
in opting to forgo shoulder surgery this summer.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will practice on Tuesday as they continue to prepare for Thursday's exhibition game against the Wizards in Baltimore.

QUESTION: Do you think the Knicks can be a top-10 defense this season?

You can follow Ian Begley on
Twitter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 9.6
AssistsR. Felton 5.6
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2

NEW YORK CALENDAR