The New York Knicks
have been a really bad team for the last 7 seasons – and the fanbase is screaming for them to be better. They have a great history and environment for basketball – but they have just been terrible – again – and it is densely hard to see them getting better anytime soon.
The Knicks were hoping the Elfrid Payton – RJ Barrett backcourt pairing would have been a dynamic partnership, but they haven’t. Payton has been playing below his typical scoring season with scoring 9ppg, and Barrett has been horrible with his shooting ability at 39%. The veterans on New York have to be somewhat skeptical of 19 year old 3rd overall pick, Barrett as he has not brought scoring or the game command that was expected from the former Duke guard.
Some of the Knicks struggles they have shown in transition is due to a lack of PG focus, which has been recurring problem for their overall team. The Knicks have struggled with their backcourt defenders, particularly with Wayne Ellington – as the 32 year old journeyman – has been awful. He puts up little resistance against opposing guards with any semblance of skill or confidence – while he just isn’t mobile enough to contain some of the league’s more talented guards, like the Raptors and the Boston Celtics
The Knicks have to try to get a smoother flowing offense – as they have been putting up just 104 /game this season. Then with Payton, who is a steady defender – one would have thought the defense would have at least stabilized, but that hasn’t either. They don’t even seem to appear to be getting close to being a better defensive team – as of this article – and have allowed 115 or more 46% of their games. When they held teams to 99 pts or less – they actually have a 70% winning pct – so if they could improve their defensive play that could help them tremendously. They’ve had big games, where they had a chance to show something more – and in their games they were blown off the court by the lowly Cavs, and fellow disaster, Phoenix – all at home, as well.
They also have made just a horrific 69% of its free throw attempts this season – it just keeps getting worse – it seems nothing has been going right for them. A decent shooter like Julius Randle should not be having the free throw problems like he has had – but here we are. New York are averaging around the same number of free throws /game as the playoff bound Celtics – but the are scoring 9 less/game because of their horrific free throw shooting.
The ultimate goal the Knicks should working on is their team developing the future – at lets be honest, 6-6 SG, Barrett is still their future. He is pretty good at getting to the free throw line and a really good defensive rebounder as well – as shown with his 4.1 defensive rpg. He just needs to get better with his shot selection, turnovers, and learning how be the leader on an NBA team. Young players, have to play through mistakes and learn, making the bonehead decisions, playing like a wide eyed rookie to get better. And I do think Barrett will get better over time.
Losing Marcus Morris was a huge loss – his 19.6ppg was tops on the team – so what is the end result they expect to get from this? They don’t give anything for Elfrid Payton and RJ Barrett to work with – a solid veteran like Morris was a great player to have for the young guys. Randle is good and then after him, who do they have to bring confidence and veteran leadership? Aside from Randle there is no current member of the New York Knicks has ever averaged 19+ ppg. He is their scorer – and the team should key on him being their scorer.
The pressure for the Knicks – as they have done in the past and the present – they need to not keep making the wrong moves. There is a feeling of hopelessness and panic on this team – their future depends heavily on their overall improvement. As of this column – the Knicks are just so far away from being even a decent team with their scoring, defense, shooting – it’s fair to question if they can get even close to that point near the next 4-5 seasons.
Maybe they will.
Maybe they won’t.
Personally, I would bet against New York Knicks becoming even a 40 win team anytime soon.