Tag Archives: Carmelo Anthony

The Knicks’ recent overreliance on the jump shot

The last couple of Knicks games have been, well, rather Knicksy. Their defense has been lacking and badly, allowing 114.6 per 100 possessions according to NBA.com. Recently, though, New York’s scoring efficiency (104.7 points/100 possessions) has actually been higher than their average rate of 103.9 in their other 54 games, and how they distributed their shots across the floor is more than worth discussing by itself.

By design, New York takes a lot of shots from the perimeter, most notably when Carmelo Anthony is playing power forward. That’s usually fine since that happened for most of 2013 and their offense finished third in scoring efficiency. This season’s starting lineups have been different for a lot of reasons, but during the last two games their lineup had a makeup similar to 2013: Anthony at power forward with Tyson Chandler, two point guards, and a small forward to space the floor that’s currently J.R. Smith, though Iman Shumpert would likely start in his place if he were healthy.

The result has been A LOT of shots outside the paint, for better or worse. Below are their shot charts against Orlando and Atlanta with the former on the left and the latter on the right, via ESPN.com:

NY-ORL 2-21

The love for the jump shot is probably more noticeable against Orlando when the Knicks attempted 73 field goals outside the paint, according to NBA.com, which is the second-highest total by any team this season and surpassed only by their incredibly Knicksy game at Milwaukee on December 18. The percentage of shots they took outside the paint against Orlando, however, was the highest by any team at 76.84 percent, well above their league-leading average of 61. As for their outing against Atlanta, it was the 15th-highest percentage by any team at 70.79.

Teams on average take 52.7 percent of their shots outside the paint. I’ll have another blog post sharing a table of that, among other things. For now, here’s where the Knicks’ last two games fit in with the 21 other instances of excessive perimeter shooting:

New York

The Knicks are responsible for five of those 23 games and are the only team to pull them off in consecutive ones.

Anthony, Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Raymond Felton combined for 109 of those 136 shots outside the paint, though they’re not totally bad attempts. Obviously, three-pointers are worth more than 20-foot twos and the Knicks took seven more threes on average than they normally would, but they also took 11 more mid-range shots per game. The shots that vanished were from around the rim, taking eight less attempts per game against Atlanta and Orlando. Even Chandler, who supplied a good chunk of the attempts around the rim thanks to alley-oops, got in on the fun from the dead zone of the floor but had little success.

Below is a simple breakdown of New York’s shot locations with the last two games bolded. The other 54 games are in regular font:

The same accuracy from the arc is nice to see, though Anthony hit some insane, heavily contested attempts during that stretch which helps explain the lower assist percentage. The mid-range accuracy is also steady but Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony, for example, had upticks from there while combining for six less shots around the rim per game. For Anthony, some of that’s obvious when looking at his scoring outbursts from those games. He’d have isolations against a defender like Tobias Harris, someone he could probably take off the dribble whenever he wanted, but pulled up from either the arc or mid-range with (to his credit) decent success.

Overall, the Knicks’ shot distribution was out of whack when factoring in how many shots were taken in high-efficiency spots (around the rim and the arc) versus low-efficiency ones (non-restricted area spots in the paint and mid-range). New York took about the same number of shots from each with a 49-46 high-low efficiency distribution versus Orlando and 45-44 against Atlanta. That’s not exactly great when teams on average take about 57.5 percent of their shots either around the rim or from the three-point line, and each of those games placed among the bottom 25 percent of all outings this season in terms of what percentage of a team’s shots were taken from high-efficiency spots of the floor.

For the season, New York has been slightly above average with their distribution between high-efficiency shots and low ones, currently at 58.1 percent. Part of that isn’t surprising when they take the sixth-most threes per game, but they also take more shots from mid-range than they do at the rim, something the Blazers, Pacers, Wizards, Cavaliers, Magic, and Celtics do. Last year, 66.1 percent of their shots were from around the rim or three. That would’ve ranked 2nd this year.

Is this all something to panic over? The Knicks are in a state of panic as is. As constructed, though, they’re a team that relies on scoring with range with or without some their players currently injured. Once in a while there will be nights like the last two where they’ll fall head over heels in love with the jump shot, and along with their inconsistent defense it will cost them games. To be an optimist, though, there’s also the potential for their shooting to catch fire and get them back in the playoff hunt. Heck, it might open up more looks at the rim.

Whether New York lives or dies by the jump shot, it’s been remarkable watching just how much they can attach to it. They’ll host Dallas tonight, a team in the middle of the pack in allowing both shots around the rim and threes, according to NBA.com. Whether the Knicks continue to look allergic to the paint is something to look for along with the chance Vince Carter scores a season-high at the Garden.

Seven thoughts on New York’s worst defensive sequence yet

So far, the New York Knicks’ season hasn’t gone so well. A new low was reached last night, summarizing the first 10 games of their season. Check out this defense:

My thoughts:

1) AMARE WHY?!?!      

2) Josh Smiths pass was initially a shot then passed in midair, so that’s a slight buzzkill. I’ve seen players on offense get mixed up on passes that were initially shots, especially whoever’s posting up to which they’ll turn around as if to get the rebound.

But I’ve never saw a defender do that until now, and it’s awesome.

3) What is Andrea Bargnani doing? Instead of defending the rim, he sticks with Andre Drummond, who’s no threat whatsoever anywhere outside five feet. Bargnani knows he’s seven feet tall, the center for the Knicks, and that Peyton Siva is a foot shorter than him, right? It’s a less obvious mistake, but comedy nonetheless.

4) To go along with #2, J.R. Smith and Bargnani basically did the opposite of what I thought would happen. Smith’s guarding Kyle Singler, the guy supposed to stretch the floor for Detroit, but whatevs! He contests Siva’s layup when it really should’ve been Bargnani.

5) But really, just hack Drummond and get him to the line no matter the situation, as long as there’s over two minutes left in the game. He only took five free throws last night, which blows my mind. On the bright side, Drummond upped his free throw percentage to 17.6 percent. So there’s that.

6) Mike Woodson‘s expression doesn’t change. Neither does anyone’s on the bench. That is, except for Carmelo Anthony, whose reaction is priceless.

7) Time for a players-only meeting.

Thoughts on OKC-Memphis, Indiana-New York, NBA names, and more

There’s no smooth way to introduce this, so I’ll resort to issuing a warning: it’ll become evident by the very end how bored I was while writing some of this up. Just trust me on that. Here’s what I came up with anyway:

Last thoughts on the first round

For Chicago, Jimmy Butler played every second of Game 6 and 7 versus Brooklyn. He wasn’t subbed out, ever. Kobe’s jealous.

Here’s a video of the 19-0 run Boston pulled versus New York:

In my post reflecting on the first round, I wrote this year might be the one where Kevin Harlan’s hair lights on fire. Had he called that Knicks-Celtics game, it surely would’ve happened.

Moving on

As unfortunate as the Russell Westbrook knee injury has been, it’s been fun to see what Kevin Durant is capable of when he’s the first and second option on offense. Since Westbrook’s injury, he’s averaged 35.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. 2006 Kobe is jealous.

Durant’s shooting percentages vary, with making 29 percent from the arc but 50.9 percent overall. He’s 85.7 from the line, which is below his 90.5 percentage from the regular season, but he’s getting to the line 10.2 times per game. That’s about an extra attempt than his regular season average. It’s a decent tradeoff.

Derek Fisher has to make just about every three he takes to justify playing his flop-heavy defense. Well, he’s made 58 percent so far. Good enough.

One of Memphis’ weaknesses on offense is making threes. They’re 24th in that area when it comes to shooting percentage, but the results have been pretty good when they make as many or more than their opponent, at least in the regular season. They were 9-1 when they made as many threes as their opponent, with the loss coming to the Clips. When they made more threes than their opponent, they were 19-6. Three losses came to Denver, one to the Clips, one to Oklahoma City, and one to, um, Washington? Huh?

It’s been a little different in the playoffs. Memphis is 1-1 (won Game 4 vs LAC, lost Game 2 vs LAC) when they’ve tied their opponent in threes made. Durant’s go-ahead bucket in Game 1 also put Memphis at 1-1 when they’ve made more threes than their opponent. Their win came in Game 6 versus the Clippers. We’ll see if that statistic changes throughout the series.

One last Memphis stat: in the Western Conference semifinals, Marc Gasol is knocking down one referee per game:

+1 for Bill Kennedy doing a reverse somersault.

Moving on to Indiana and New York. There was some talk, at least on Twitterslovakia, that the Knicks have nowhere to go but up as far as their shooting is concerned. In Game 1, Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton, and J.R. Smith combined to shoot 39.3 percent (26-66) from the field, 33 percent from 3 (5-15), and 16-19 from the line.

Smith’s shooting numbers since coming back from his suspension: 12-42 from the field, 6-17 from 3 and 14-18 from the line. He did have a huge layup + foul in Game 6 at Boston, but other than that he’s been forgettable. Also, Jason Kidd has been ghastly, going 3-12 from the arc and 3-18 total.

So the talk of Melo and the Knicks backcourt struggling is true, but Indiana didn’t exactly light it up either. In Game 1, the trio of David West, Paul George, and George Hill combined for 39.1 percent (18-46), 4-16 from 3, and 13-15 from the line. The contributions from the rest of the Pacers set them apart in the first game. D.J. Augustin, for heaven’s sake, came into Game 1 shooting below 30 percent in the first round against the Hawks and 35 percent for the whole season. He was 5-6 with four threes yesterday. During the season, Augustin took more than five shots 19 times. He only shot 50 percent or better in four of them.

Lance Stephenson has been a beast on the boards, logging more rebounds (61) than points (58). His defensive rebounding percentage versus the Hawks was 24.7, higher than the regular season percentages of Tyson Chandler, Andrew Bogut, and David Lee. Surely, that percentage went up after yesterday’s 11-point, 13-rebound (11 defensive) performance. Still waiting for it to update on basketball-reference.com. Hurry up.

Update: that number jumped to 26.1 percent. When comparing defensive rebounding percentages in the playoffs, his rate surpasses the likes of Omer Asik, Andrew Bogut, and Larry Sanders.

And then there’s Roy Hibbert. Yesterday was proof that +/- differentials have their flaws. Hibbert was -1 in that area, but his defense was brilliant while chipping in on offense at just the right times. He logged 39 minutes. It was the second-highest total all year and second-highest of his postseason career, behind 39 minutes and 53 seconds against Miami in game 6 last postseason.

As Indiana has their hands full trying to defend Melo, so too will New York when trying to defend David West and Roy Hibbert. I predicted them to either lose to New York in five or beat them in six. It’s basically the difference between the unselfish, quick-ball-movement Knicks and the iso-heavy, this-is-why- I-don’t-like-you Knicks. It’s not like Indiana lit it up against Atlanta either, needing six games to finish them off.

If I had to pick between Melo and Paul George, I’d take George. Besides being six years younger, he’s more of a complete player. I know it’s crazy when thinking about defense, but it’s half the game and George has been terrific on that end. As a team, Indiana leads the league in defensive rating by nearly three points, 95.4 to Memphis’ second-place 98.1. When George is on the court, it drops to 94.9 but rises to 97.9 when he’s on the bench. A three-point swing on a team like Indiana’s has a little bit more weight.

But Melo attracts more attention. When he creates for others, the team is fun to watch and a little more likeable. Will we see that Knicks team this series or will they flame out versus Indiana?

This makes me feel a little better about my playoff predictions:

And last and definitely least, in one of the more degenerate statistics I’ve discovered, eight out of the top 30 players, according to ESPN’s #NBARank from April, have two first names. The list: Zach Randolph, Paul George, Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and LeBron James. What it all means: I need to get out more.

It’s pretty embarrassing to take a whole five minutes to research that, so I’ll deflect the attention back to Charles Barkley, who nearly broke a couch while trying to tackle Shaq Saturday night.

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