From Media Day until opening night, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann will provide a key stat for each team in the league and show you, with film and analysis, why it matters. Up next are the New York Knicks, who are trying to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference.
31.9 percent – Percentage of shots (from both teams) that were 3-pointers in Knicks games last season.
The Knicks took 35.4 percent of their shots from 3-point range, the highest mark in NBA history. And Knicks opponents took 28.1 percent of their shots from 3-point range, the highest opponent mark in NBA history.
The Knicks’ own threes were a good thing, as they helped propel them to No. 3 in offensive efficiency. New York was at the forefront of a 3-point shooting revolution last season, with the league putting more value in floor spacing and that extra point you get for having your feet behind the arc. Over the last few seasons, it has become more important to be able to both shoot and defend 3-pointers.
The Knicks ranked 15th in opponent 3-point percentage, actually holding their opponents slightly under the league average of 35.9 percent. But volume was the issue.
Even at that less-than-league-average rate, those threes were worth a lot more (1.07 points per attempt) than a mid-range, two-point jumper against the Knicks (0.79). And New York was one of three teams to allow over 100 more 3-point attempts than mid-range attempts last season. The other two — Charlotte and New Orleans — ranked in the bottom three defensively.
More opponent 3PA than mid-range attempts
|Team||Opp M-R FGA||Opp 3PA||Diff.|
The Knicks’ issues with defending the 3-point line mostly stemmed from over-helping, both in the post and on pick-and-rolls. Too often, they got caught in positions where they didn’t have time to recover and run a shooter off the 3-point line. It was a stark contrast to how the Pacers defended the same kinds of plays, and we really saw it in the playoff series between the two teams.
The departed Chris Copeland, Jason Kidd and Steve Novak took 322 (36 percent) of the Knicks’ 3-pointers with them. It’s unclear if Andrea Bargnani, Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace will be able to replace that perimeter production and keep New York in the top five of offensive efficiency.
Either way, if the Knicks want to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference, how well they defend threes will be just as important as how well they shoot them.
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions