Pistons host Knicks


  • Teams: New York Knicks (3-6) at Detroit Pistons (3-6)
  • Date: November 19, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

Word on the street is that James Dolan believes his beloved New York Knicks have what it takes to win the championship this season. That statement probably prompted a two-word response from every other NBA team fan base: Deez Knicks?!?

It’s not that New York cannot win the title, but rather that the roster is incredibly flawed. Consequently, the path to the chip will require a lot of good fortune and perhaps a slight shakeup of the current parts.

Any discussion centered around the Knickerbockers ultimately revolves around Carmelo Anthony. He is one of the most gifted scorers in the league and also, he presents matchup problems for opponents at the power forward spot.

Indeed, most of the 4s are simply not equipped to deal with Melo’s first step and his quickness. In addition, Mike Woodson is currently pairing him with Andrea Bargnani at center while Tyson Chandler is on the mend (out four-to-six weeks with a knee injury).

That gives Anthony room to operate down in the box and torture opponents. And yet, despite his scoring prowess, the Knicks are a subpar offensive unit. They rank in the league’s bottom half in points per 100 possessions and unsurprisingly, this is where the roster comes into the question.

New York has a lot of shot takers on board. Notice I did not say shot makers. The Knicks operate their offense by running pick-and-rolls to create matchups they can attack in isolation fashion. They will try to force switches and if that does not occur, they will try to find the open player and have him attack the rotating defender.

Deception and misdirection are rarely part of Woodson’s sets. Instead, they have a multitude of players that lack discipline on this side of the ball. Hence, guys are more than happy to take the first semi-open look that comes across them (J.R. Smith alert!).

The most consistent thing resembling a motion offense occurs on the weak side of the floor when Anthony is facing up his man from the low-post area. They do this to simply prevent defenders from swarming Melo and taking the ball out of his hands.

Much has been made about Anthony’s high-volume shooting (it’s reached the point that it has made him an afterthought behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant), but this current iteration of the Knicks are seemingly doomed without their leading scorer.

The inability to run a decent offense coupled with the lack of disciplined players make his presence practically mandatory. Consider this: with Anthony off the floor so far this season, the Knicks’ scoring differential is minus-25.2 per 48 minutes according to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool.

That’s an amazing stat when we take into account the fact that NY is sub-.500 right now. If Melo battles foul trouble or perhaps an ankle sprain that keeps him out of the lineup for a few chunks of a game, his teammates might get burned badly.

Part of that stems from the fact the defense is actually worse off than what is currently a mediocre offense. These guys get hung up on screens far too easily and lose track of players if the ball gets swung from one side to the next. Just so we’re clear, the guys they stop paying attention to are often lethal shooters like Kyle Korver.

Put those facts together and well, you have a defense that registers in the Association’s bottom third.

Make no mistake though, this team has talent. They can get hot in a hurry and find the right balance of chemistry on any given night. From there, they usually look like a solid contender, especially if Anthony has it rolling.

With that said, there are just too many combustible personalities (J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace) on this roster to consistently know what to expect from the Knicks. The discipline comes and goes and as a result, so do the wins.

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