By Matt Constas on July 23, 2014
The New York Knicks were bad last season. There is no avoiding that fact. New president Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher are used to winning, so expect things to turn around for them this season. Here are five areas that the Knicks need to improve in if they want to be better next season.
The Knicks were not a good passing team, and Raymond Felton leaving won't hurt too much. They were third to last in assists per game in the entire league with 20 (16.1 per 100 possessions). Their 1.54 assist/turnover ratio wasn't too great either. Carmelo Anthony's 30.1 usage rate was fourth most in the league, so more people need to get the ball. Ball movement and team unity will be something Fisher and Jackson preach all year.
Defense wins championships, right? Well it is definitely one of the reasons why the Knicks didn't even make the playoffs last year. They ranked 24th in the whole league in defensive efficiency, Opponents shot 46 percent from the field against the Knicks and 37.1 percent from three, the fourth worst mark in the league. This defense has a long way to go, but it really can't get much worse.
The Knicks shot just more than 76 percent from the free throw line last season, so when they were on the stripe they took advantage at a good rate. The problem was getting there. 1,670 attempts ranked third worst in the NBA. They made just 1,271, resulting in some of the best teams scoring almost 1,000 more points than them just from the line. Those are free points! The Knicks need to be more aggressive and create more of these opportunities.
Despite Carmelo Anthony's career-high 8.1 rebounds per game, the Knicks really didn't do too well on the glass. They ranked fourth to last in total rebounds and only grabbed 49 percent of the rebounds during their games. Per game they grabbed 1.7 less boards than their opponents. As they lack frontcourt depth, this stat could stay similar, but it will need to be better if they want to make some noise in the East.
When conducting postseason interviews, president Phil Jackson came to the conclusion that on the court the team lacked chemistry. Well, the Zenmaster knows all too well that chemistry is a key component to success. He traded away that cancer that was Raymond Felton and got one of the best players in the league, Carmelo Anthony, to buy into his system (literally and figuratively). That's a good start, and we will see if it continues.
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