The New York Knicks are going back to basics with their defensive coverages under interim head coach Mike Miller.
“We’re not overcomplicating anything” Julius Randle said via SNY. “We’re doing a good job of sticking to our coverages and just executing our coverages, being disciplined in that, not overcomplicating things and I think we’re rebounding well.”
Fizdale employed a switch-heavy defensive scheme that is widely used around the NBA, but the team was never able to develop a consistent defensive identity. While they have a few elite individual defenders like Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina, the entire team struggled to defend.
With Fizdale running the show, the Knicks were 25th in the league with a 112.9 defensive rating. Under Miller, the Knicks are posting a defensive rating of 109.9 (19th in that timeframe).
“I think we have sustained these possessions where maybe we would have a segment of three or four good ones,” Miller said. “I think we’re getting now where it’s five, six, seven good ones, and we’re able to impact the game a little bit more. I thought we defended really well at the beginning of the Brooklyn game, and in stretches, we put together really good possessions. And I think it takes some of the pressure off our offense. When it does that, we can get into a possession game and be able to make stops.”
There hasn’t been a dramatic difference since Fizdale’s firing, but it’s impossible to deny the impact of Miller’s tweaks. The Knicks are 5-6 with the interim head coach calling the shots and there’s a new air of optimism in Madison Square Garden.
Miller and the Knicks will welcome Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers to the Garden on New Year’s Day (7:30 p.m. ET).