Sunday, May 11, 2008

Let's Talk Knicks

Over the weekend the New York Knicks hired former Suns' coach, Mike D'Antoni. Hmmm.... While I've been a fan of the system he implemented in Phoenix the Knicks seem like an awful choice for his style of play-- which is run & gun. It's quite exciting to watch if you have proficient shooters and players with smart basketball IQ. The Knicks have neither. Crawford is about the ONLY Knick I can imagine playing well under the new coach's system. Yes I know I like Nate Robinson too(!)but he will turn the ball over a hell of a lot & the team really needs to learn some defense.

Here's an excerpt from an article posted on hoopsworld today:

We are in the middle of May right now, and this is the time of year when the old adage is proven true time and again: defense wins championships. Offensive fireworks may sell more tickets and win regular season games, but the guys that get to wear jewelry are the guys that play defense.

For proof, take a look at the defensive statistics from this season. Of the 10 teams to allow the fewest points per game during the 2007-2008 NBA regular season, nine of them made the playoffs. Four of those five (Pistons, Celtics, Spurs, and Hornets) are still playing.

Of the 10 teams to allow the most points per game during the '07-'08 season, only two of them made the playoffs. None of those teams are still alive, and they combined for only one total playoff win between them. That one win was the Suns sole victory before the Spurs sent them packing in five games. And while D'Antoni's regular season record is outstanding, he is just 26-25 in the postseason.

See a pattern developing here?

And please don't think this year is anomaly. If anything, it is the rule. Going back to 2003, three of the last four NBA champions finished the regular season as the NBA leader in fewest points allowed.

And basketball junkies in New York know this all too well. The great Knick teams of the early 70's were the best defensive team of that era. Both championship teams led the NBA in fewest points allowed in the years they won the title. (In fact '69-'70 squad allowed six fewer points than the next closet team.)

And the beloved Knicks teams of the 90's were also built firmly on the bedrocks of defense, hustle, and toughness. With Patrick Ewing flanked by the likes Charles Oakley, Larry Johnson, Derek Harper, and John Starks; the Knicks may not have been pretty or fun to watch. But they defended, and competed, and gave 110%. They also won a whole bunch of playoff games. And yup, you guessed, when they advanced to the 1994 NBA Finals; they led the NBA in fewest PPG allowed that year.

Thus, it was not only the losing under Isiah Thomas that irked die-hard Knicks fans. It was the manner in which they lost. The complete disregard for defense and lack of intensity was unforgivable.

Read the entire article here

No comments: