It took nearly the entire season, but New York Knicks‘ Jeff Hornacek is finally criticizing the lack of good shots within his team’s offense.
The offense isn’t the problem with the New York Knicks. They’ve lost 9 of 13 since the All-Star break, but it’s mostly because they’ve allowed an astronomical 112.1 points per 100 possessions. Despite the glaring evidence that defense is the problem all anyone seems to want to talk about is their offense. Including head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick Rose recently spoke about the lack of chemistry within the team. Porzingis went as far as admitting “it was pretty easy to tell from the inside that we’re not that good of a team.” With the season mercifully ending, it was the coach’s turn to get something off his chest.
Typically player-friendly, Hornacek changed gears when talking to Marc Berman of The New York Post about the team’s downfall. The coach said the team wasn’t unselfish enough with their ball movement and shot selection.
“You see teams — open guys always end up with the ball,’’ Hornacek said at Monday’s morning shootaround before the Knicks faced the Clippers at Staples Center. “Here we do it in spurts. Then we have spurts where it sticks. One guy will take a shot that maybe he can move it on for a better shot. That’s probably the biggest key is we get the good shots. We don’t get the great shots. If we make one extra, we’ll get a great shot. You see the good teams out there, they pass it up for better ones.’’
This play against the Sixers is a good example of why Anthony can be frustrating. Instead of trying to set up his team in their offense he takes three dribbles and throws up a wild shot trying to draw a foul.
Knicks fans have learned to take the good with the bad when it comes to Anthony. For every bad shot like that he puts on a move that shows you why he’s one of the greatest scorers of all time.
There’s a method to Melo’s madness.
While the Knicks are third in the league in passes made per game (via NBA.com), it hasn’t led to much success.
Only 16.7 percent of New York’s FGA come when the offensive player is wide open (defined by NBA.com as when the closest defender is within 6-plus feet). That number makes them 24th in the NBA. They’re equally unsuccessful in obtaining open three-point looks, ranking 24th with just 9.5 per game.
What makes it even worse is that the Knicks stick their open shots when they get them. They rank 10th in effective field goal percentage with a 57.5 percent on their rare attempts.
On the first attempt, Lee is wide open in the corner, takes the pass from Anthony after he’s double-teamed. The veteran buries the triple. That’s what the coach wants to see.
On this attempt, Lee has to wait for the pass in the corner as Rose gets fancy in the paint. This gives Nik Stauskas extended time to close out and force a more difficult shot.
Lee misses a contested shot instead of making what should’ve been an open shot. So the Knicks are passing the ball they obviously just don’t have the personnel to find the open man.
New York is 19th in assists. After the departure of Brandon Jennings, New York has just one player on their roster (Rose) who averages over 3.0 assists per game. For context, the Brooklyn Nets have two.
The head coach is justifiably upset about his team’s stagnant offense, but nothing’s going to change if he returns next season with Derrick Rose as his point guard and Carmelo Anthony as his superstar. The ball is still going to stick, and potentially great shots will still be wasted opportunities.