The New York Knicks have a new offense this season, but so far nothing has changed. The team’s bad and the players are grumbling about it.
Veteran shooting guard Courtney Lee has seen a lot. The 32-year-old has been traded five different times and played for seven different teams in ten seasons. He can tell when an offense isn’t working, so when he speaks, it means something.
Following the embarrassing blowout loss to the Celtics on Tuesday Lee took his teammates to task when he criticized their execution and practice habits. Lee was second in scoring on Tuesday with 13 points.
“It was a lot of possessions like a normal eye might not see it, but we messed up on a lot of plays where the ball wasn’t getting delivered on time or one or two guys not being on the same page as far as the playcalling. That’s on us. We’ve got to pay attention more in practice, make sure we execute more when we’re out there…. There’s plays that we go over in practice, if we’re messing up in practice and we’re messing up in games we got to understand these plays and get in those positions to where we’re executing and being sharp. If we miss shots, we miss shots. That’s part of the game. But not being in the right position takes away a shot for your teammates. We got to learn the plays.”
But Lee wasn’t the only Knick to vent following the loss. Tim Hardaway Jr. let loose about the team’s struggles as well; saying the Knicks need to be more careful with the ball and reiterating Lee’s message about execution.
“You guys see it out there,” Hardaway said, per Popper. “It’s no secret. We’re turning the ball over, lackadaisical out there. Nothing seems crisp really. I mean, yeah, that comes with not really that much experience all together, like all these other teams. But at the same time, we can control what we can control—that’s keeping the ball in our hands and executing properly.”
Hardaway is also likely upset about his own personal struggles. The $71 million man has been terrible through New York’s first three games. He’s averaging just 9.3 points per game while playing over 30 minutes per game.
He’s shooting 24.3 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from three-point range. Through three games, New York’s starting shooting guard has made nine total field goals.
This new offense was supposed to change things, but the Knicks are last in offensive rating and effective field goal percentage; scoring a pathetic 93.8 points per 100 possessions with a 46.1 eFG%.
It was supposed to be an up-tempo offense. The Knicks are 22nd in pace, last in transition plays by a mile, and 28th in fast break points. Not surprising considering they can’t get any stops. The Knicks are 25th in defensive rating.
But this shouldn’t be a great surprise. This is the Knicks were talking about. They’ve been searching for an offense that worked for decades. Even the great teams of the ’90s that we all loved were built on defense. It’s actually incredible to look back at how little success the Knicks have had offensively as a franchise.
The Knicks have finished in the top ten in offensive rating twice in the past 30 years. Try to let it sink in for a while just how bad the Knicks have been on offense. Good. Now about these two teams that finished in the top ten in offensive rating.
Rick Pitino—yes that Rick Pitino—led the Knicks to a division title and the sixth best offense in 1988-89 behind the efforts of Patrick Ewing and Mark Jackson. Then there was the outlier season of 2012-13. Carmelo Anthony won the scoring title, and the Knicks won the division for the first time since 1993-94.
Since 2012-13, outside of the 2013-14 season, it’s been a nightmare. The Knicks have finished 11th, 29th, 24th, and 18th respectively; and this season isn’t off to a good start.
Not only is the offense atrocious through three games, but the players are complaining too. Same old Knicks.