Jan 26, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Knicks 97-80. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks: Examining Knicks struggles on offense

New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson recently said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco” show that the Knicks offense has been stinking lately.

The Knicks are ninth in the NBA in scoring at 100.7 points per game, but after taking a closer look, Woodson is actually right.

January 30, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson reacts to a technical foul during the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

They offense as a whole has struggled the entire month of January, averaging only 95.8 points per game after averaging 102.3 during the month of December.

That’s a huge drop off for a team with the talent of the Knicks.

In addition, while being the third most efficient team in the NBA offensively, averaging 108.6 points per 100 possessions, trailing only the Oklahoma City Thunder (109.9) and the Miami Heat (109.1).

But things haven’t come as easy to the Knicks as of late.

There is one reason for that and it is as simple as ball movement.

The first month of the season, the Knicks moved the ball as well as any team in the NBA and were one of the top assists teams in the league. Slowly the ball movement started to deteriorate to the point that the Knicks are now only 26th in the league, averaging only 19.9 assists per game.

That is a direct correlation to isolation plays going way up.

Take Sunday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks for instance.

The Knicks ran isolation plays 23.4 percent of the time, including in the fourth quarter in which every single possession was an iso set. It worked out as the Knicks got the win, but it is not healthy for the Knicks’ offense in the long-term.

When the ball stays on one side of the floor and stops in the hands of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, the Knicks become much easier to defend. Granted, Anthony and Smith are the Knicks two best scorers and have success in isolation sets, but that trend can’t continue.

The amount of pick-and-rolls has been down and you can count the times the ball has seen both sides of the court in the same possession on one hand.

While this team still has their issues defensively, ranking as only the 16th most efficient team in the league by allowing 103.2 points per 100 possessions, they have improved by allowing only 94.5 points per game in January, which is a good sign.

Now the offense has to get back in rhythm as well.

When it does, you very well just may see this Knicks team take off again.

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony J.R. Smith Mike Woodson New York Knicks

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