One Team, One Stat: Too Many Threes From The Knicks’ … Opponents

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.

The basics
NYK Rank
W-L 54-28 7
Pace 92.0 26
OffRtg 108.6 3
DefRtg 103.5 17
NetRtg +5.1 6

The stat

31.9 percent - Percentage of shots (from both teams) that were 3-pointers in Knicks games last season.

The context

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.
Charlotte 1,653 1,847 194
New Orleans 1,513 1,688 175
New York 1,655 1,789 134
Denver 1,853 1,894 41
Miami 1,742 1,783 41

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.

We can see more of New York’s issues in these clips from a January game in which Brooklyn shot 12-for-24 from 3-point range at MSG …


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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

12 Comments

  1. craig says:

    once again, another article on here bashing the knicks

  2. Nick says:

    If they’re keeping opponents slightly under the league average in 3′s, why is it a bad thing that the Knicks’ opponents are taking a ton of outside shots? Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Don’t you prefer your opponent take a lot of outside shots as opposed to getting attempts in the paint? If anything, wouldn’t this statistic indicate that a team had a solid frontcourt defense and a perimeter D that was at least good enough for 15th in the league?

    • Brandon says:

      Forcing outside shots is a good idea, but its much better to force a long two pointer than a 3 pointer. Players have about the same chance to make a long two as they do to make a 3, but the 3 pointer is worth an extra point. The best defenses try to prevent shots from 3 and from the restricted area and instead get players to shoot mid-range jump shots (or even better, 2 pointers just inside the arc)

  3. KMA says:

    In my opinion, I prefer the opponenst to shoot 3′s rather than mid range shots or lay ups because the opponent has a much lower chance of making those shots. (As long as we rebound, it’s all good)

    I believe their is one major problem with the knicks and that was seen when the knicks encountered the pacers in the post season. The problem was their ineffectiveness trying to score when Hibbert was on the floor and also trying to stop a him from scoring. Tyson seemed to be powerless trying to resolve these 2 tasks. But if a solution for this can be found, I think the Knicks will be a great contender in the east.

  4. BlackDove- says:

    The knicks dont have what it takes.

    im a knick fan.

    what happen to their rotation in the pacers series?

    woodson hardly used the bench players, considering we had one of the deepest benches in the nba.

    the NYK defense vs pacers was horrible, no intensity what so ever.

    they also fall back on Melo to often and run iso plays for him too often, its frustrating to watch.

    one other point, STAT my man, we know you can score stop spending time with the Dream. I think you should contact Ben Wallace to learn how to play D. Considering you said you’ve “never been tough Defense”

    Peace Out

  5. KnicksAllday says:

    I understand what you are saying John but you just showed
    - Copeland, who barely played because of his defensive reputation
    - Novak, who you and I can go around any day. By far the worst Knick defender last season
    - Kidd, 40 years old…retired
    - all 3 mentioned above are no longer on the Knicks
    - J.R. Smith, can defend but gets lazy at times. All games vs the Nets came before the All Star break if I remember correctly. I think he grew up over the year and will defend better this year.

    Now I am however worried about Bargnani and Melo playing the 5 and 4 together. That my friend will be a disaster. And more than anything if Melo doesn’t give up the ball more willingly especially when he is off like last night, the Knicks will never win and that’s coming from someone who watched almost every Knick game for the past 15 years.

  6. just let the guys ball says:

    this cud 2 things
    1. either they r too confident in their close out (which is apparently not the case)
    n im seeing a lot of JR close out in the clip

    2. its becoz their bigs arent good enough to contain the opponents big on their own, this requires the guard to hv to help them out
    im seeing melo being tangled up with reggie evans (whos prolly the least offensive threat on the court for nets)
    n melo was easily occupied which means JR has to help out in the lane or it will be an easy open layup

  7. Jamaal says:

    Most of the players that were shown in the video were all OK or bad defenders in rotation. The Knicks have a much quicker and more sound team this year.