2014-2015 NBA Season Analysis- New York Knicks
It’s not gonna be an easy season for the New York Knicks right after a terrible one. Some major changes in the roster and the coaching staff will make them adjust to the new circumstances. I do believe they’re talented enough though, and with a couple of good acquisitions in Calderón and Jason Smith the Knicks will make the post-season if they stay committed and adjust to the offensive triangle early.
Coach: Derek Fisher
PG: José M. Calderón; Pablo Prigioni; Shane Larkin
SG: Iman Shumpert; Tim Hardaway Jr.
SF: Carmelo Anthony; J.R. Smith; Cleanthony Early (Rookie)
PF: Amar’e Stoudemire; Quincy Acy; Travis Wear (Rookie)
C: Samuel Dalembert; Andrea Bargnani; Jason Smith; Cole Aldrich
Let’s take a look at the Knicks’ offense:
Obviously, I have to talk about the famous triangle. I’m not really a big fan of imposing systems when you don’t actually have the appropriate players. The New York Knicks don’t have big men with great passing skills in their roster, like the Lakers had in Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom for example. Also, Carmelo is not one of the best passers among the elite guys in the League (or at least not a willing passer) either. Besides that, we all know the point guard’s role under the triangle is mainly a spot-up shooter (ask Fisher himself), and although Calderón can certainly do that (he’s one of the best outside shooters in the entire Association), I believe he can help them in a variety of ways. However, I’m not entirely against the triangle, I do believe it can be used several times during games, pretty much as you do with zone defence, but I just don’t see it as their main offensive weapon.
I believe high pick and rolls with Carmelo and Calderón may be pretty useful for them because defenders will tend to avoid Carmelo’s reception of the basketball after the pick and Calderón can certainly make them pay from the outside. His great ability to knock down shots from downtown will create some open shots for Carmelo as well as miss-matches where he can score some easy baskets shooting over smaller defenders. Creating miss-matches for Carmelo can become an amazingly powerful offensive weapon for them because, as I said, he’s got the ability to shoot over smaller defenders and blow by bigger ones. It is also crucial in these situations that he become a willing passer because the opposing teams will recognise this weapon and will tend to over-help on him, so if he’s able to pass the ball well, the play can eventually end up in a wide open shot for outstanding shooters like Calderón, Tim Hardaway Jr., Shumpert, J.R., or even big men with shooting skills like Bargnani or Jason Smith. In this regard, it is absolutely vital for them to get the best out of Amar’e. If he can get close to his best level, not only will he become an inside presence that the Knicks really need, but also will open up outside shots for the great shooters mentioned above, because defenders will have to watch him closely and help in the paint.
They can also benefit from the fact that J.R Smith can put the ball on the deck and create plays for his teammates (when he’s committed). He needs to penetrate more instead of settling for jump shots and get easier baskets or find open teammates. They can play Calderón off the ball, pretty much as he did in Dallas with Monta Ellis, so he becomes an extra weapon from the shooting guard spot and Fisher can design plays for him, Shumpert or Tim Hardaway Jr. with multiple screens to find open shots for them.
Finally, less skillful offensive guys like Dalembert or Acy have to help the team with great screens, finishing around the rim with easy baskets and with offensive rebounding.
Let’s now talk about the defensive end of the court:
This is, no question about it, a key factor to their success, because they’ve got great offensive talent but have failed to defend well over the past seasons.
Obviously, their success has to come from commitment and team defence, since they don’t have many defensive specialists in their roster (arguably just Shumpert and Dalembert can successfully defend 1-on-1 throughout a whole game). They need to defend with multiple helps and good rotation, as well as to try to avoid gambling too much on steals. I also believe zone defence can become a good defensive weapon for the Knicks (always alternating with individual defence of course) due to their lack of individual defenders.
Just to sum up, I’d say that commitment is the main key to their success, because I do believe they’re a better team (talent-wise) than they’ve shown in the last season and the beginning of this one and they’ll eventually find the best system to get the best out of each and every player (or at least out of the key ones).
Likely Starting Line-up
Calderón – Shumpert – Carmelo – Bargnani – Dalembert
The New York Knicks are off to a really slow start, but I believe they’re talented enough to bounce back and make the post-season (mainly because they belong to the Eastern Conference), so my prediction is they’ll clinch the 8th and last playoffs spot in the East.
Let's now enjoy some of the best plays from the New York Knicks' players in the past seasons: