Friday, January 6, 2012
What’s wrong with the Knicks?
On Wednesday, the New York Knicks dropped a game to the Charlotte Bobcats, 118-110, to drop to 2-4 on the season and now sit four games back of the Miami Heat atop the Eastern Conference.
Three areas stand out for reasons for the Knicks’ early-season struggles.
Tyson Chandler: Not Helping?
The Knicks acquired Tyson Chandler to help their defense. Unfortunately, not only has the team performed better on defense when Chandler is not on the floor, he’s also had a depressing performance on the team’s offense. The Knicks put up a better points per 100 possessions, both offensively and defensively, when Chandler is not in the game.
If we look at it from a broader perspective, the Knicks’ overall numbers have not improved, either.
Two areas in which one would expect Chandler to have a significant impact would include, naturally, points allowed as well as rebound rate. The Knicks have not improved relative to the league in either of those categories. They've dropped from 21st to 23rd in the league in defensive efficiency, and have remained 28th in rebound rate.
Carmelo Anthony: Not a Savior?
Presumably, one of the reasons the Knicks went out and acquired Carmelo Anthony was because they viewed him as a franchise cornerstone, difference-maker type player. While no one doubts his scoring prowess, it’s fair to question whether he has a tangible impact on a team’s ability to win games.
Over the last two seasons, the Knicks are two games over .500 before acquiring Anthony, and two games under after Anthony became a Knick. Their points scored, allowed and field goal percentage are virtually the same before and after Anthony.
The Denver Nuggets, on the other hand, are 23-9 since trading Carmelo Anthony, after sitting at 32-25 last season before trading their superstar. Only the Bulls have a better record since Feb. 22, 2011, the date of the trade.
Amar'e Stoudemire: Hurt by Point Guards?
Amar’e Stoudemire predates both Chandler and Anthony in New York, but it appears he’s being hurt by point guard play that has dropped off since last season.
With Toney Douglas this season, Stoudemire is averaging 5.3 shots in the restricted zone per 36 minutes. Last season, with Raymond Felton on the floor, Stoudemire was averaging 7.2 of those shots per 36 minutes.
His scoring, field goal percentage and free throw attempts per game have also dropped off this season with Douglas on the floor compared to his numbers last season with Felton.
This has matched scouting reports, that Douglas is more of a scoring point guard who may have trouble setting up teammates.