The story everyone is and should be talking about from the New York Knicks’ matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans is the fact that Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis has a fracture in his hand and his timetable for return is uncertain right now. Considering the torrid start he was off to in the 2013-14 NBA season, people who love basketball should be a little bummed out and cursing stupid hand injuries.
Even with Davis heading to the locker room, New Orleans was still able to pull out the 103-99 victory over the Knicks. If you get past Davis’ injury, the thing that stands out and the thing that has been a problem on the New York side of things all season has been the paltry defensive performance of the Knicks.
Along with allowing 103 points, the Knicks allowed the Pelicans to shoot 49.4 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from long-range as a team in their contest on Sunday. To make matters worse, the Knicks weren’t doing a great job of taking away possessions from New Orleans as they forced the Pelicans into only 12 turnovers on the night.
Through 16 games this season, New York has the fourth worst defense in the NBA in terms of defensive rating, allowing a pretty alarming 105.4 points per 100 possessions. Though their defense wasn’t great last season either, giving up 103.5 points per 100 possessions, their offense was clicking well enough for that to not be as big of a factor. However, with their offense playing almost 10 points per 100 possessions worse this season than they did last year, their defense is incredibly problematic.
Though I believe Mike Woodson is a good coach and that it says a lot for this team that Carmelo Anthony is behind the head coach, he has to switch something up with his system. Whether that means burying Andrea Bargnani, giving younger wings more minutes, making a trade, or switching up the system, the Knicks problems aren’t going to go away if something doesn’t change. Their offense might get a bit better, but if their defense continues playing at this low of a level, offensive improvement is only going to do so much.