One Team, One Stat: No pace for these Knicks

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann NBA.com

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Oct 7, 2016 8:34 AM ET

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NBA.com's John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2016-17 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the New York Knicks, who haven't been inclined to run.

THE STAT

The New York Knicks have ranked last in the league in fast break points per game each of the last four seasons.


THE CONTEXT

Under three different coaches in that time, the Knicks have never pushed the pace.

Four seasons ago, the Knicks ranked third in offensive efficiency, despite the lack of fast break points. But each of the last two seasons, they've ranked in the bottom five on that end of the floor and their inability to get easy baskets in transition has hurt them.

Playing faster doesn't necessarily make a team better. But league-wide, field goal percentage is at its highest early in the shot clock and goes down as the clock does. Early shots are generally good shots.


Last season, the Knicks not only ranked last in the percentage of shots that came in the first six seconds of the shot clock (9.7 percent), but also in effective field goal percentage in the first six seconds (53.6 percent). Still, as was the case with every team in the league, they were a better shooting team early in the clock than late in the clock.

The Knicks' Triangle offense, of course, has been slow and deliberate. They've ranked second in passes per possession, but last in drives per game each of the last two seasons, according to SportVU.


Their defense (or lack thereof) has also played a role in their inability to get into transition. It's hard to run if you're taking the ball out of the basket and last season and the Knicks have been a below-average defensive team for each of the last four seasons. On top of that, their average of just 5.70 steals per game last season was the fifth lowest average for any team in the last 20 years.

Note: Steals = live-ball turnovers. All other turnovers are dead balls.

Derrick Rose's arrival won't necessarily lead to more fast break points. He averaged just 1.8 fast break points (the lowest mark of his career) last season and the Chicago Bulls have ranked 28th in fast break points over the last four years.


There's more promise in the arrival of new coach Jeff Hornacek. Over the last three seasons, only the Houston Rockets took a greater percentage of their shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock than Hornacek's Phoenix Suns. Though the offense fell apart after the departures of Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, the Knicks' new coach knows the value of pace.

If Hornacek can get Rose and the rest of the Knicks to push the ball and get some shots early in the clock, it would help them climb out of the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency after two straight years in the bottom five.


10 MORE KNICKS NOTES

  1. Most improved team in the league last season, 7.3 points per 100 possessions (4.9 on offense, 2.4 on defense) better than they were in 2014-15 (when they ranked in the bottom three on both ends of the floor.
  2. The Knicks had the biggest decrease in opponent 3-point percentage, opponent effective field goal percentage, and opponent free throw rate (FTA/FGA) from the season before.
  3. New York made 33.1 percent of its shots came from mid-range. That was down from 35.5 percent in '14-15, but was still the highest rate in the league.
  4. The Knicks were the worst 4th quarter team in the league last season, getting outscored by 9.4 points per 100 possessions. They were outscored by only 0.7 points per 100 possessions through the first three quarters.
  5. According to SportVU, the Knicks set just 38.3 ball screens per game, the second lowest rate in the league.
  6. New York had a NetRtg of plus-2.9 in the second game of a back-to-back, minus-3.4 with one day of rest, and minus-7.3 with two or more days of rest.
  7. The Knicks outscored their opponents by 15 points in 2,046 minutes with Kristaps Porzingis on the floor and were outscored by 239 points in 1,915 minutes with him off the floor.
  8. Carmelo Anthony recorded assists on 15.3 percent of his possessions last season, the highest rate of his career by a wide margin. His 60 assists to Porzingis were the second most he's had to a teammate in a single season, trailing only the 63 assists he had to Nene in 2008-09.
  9. Among 153 players who have taken at least 350 shots in the restricted area over the last two years, Rose (50.4 percent) and Noah (47.6 percent) rank 149th and 153rd in field goal percentage there.
  10. Rose took just 14.3 percent of his shots from 3-point range last season, down from 32.5 percent in '14-15. That was the second biggest drop-off in 3PA/FGA among 124 players with at least 500 FGA both years.

NBA TV's Knicks preview premieres at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 7.


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