2013 NBA Playoffs: Is the New York Knicks offense too selfish?


Watching the New York Knicks play offensively during the 2013 NBA Playoffs has become a bit predictable.

The ball doesn’t move and the likes of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith hold the ball in isolation sets until they are forced to chuck up difficult low-percentage shots.

Often it appears that the likes of Anthony and Smith are trying to win games on their own, which really begs only one question.

May 7, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) warms up before game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Has this Knicks’ offense become too selfish?

If you ask Knicks’ All-Star center Tyson Chandler, that answer is yes.

Chandler told Newsday’s Al Iannazzone that Knicks are being too selfish and individuals are trying to win games alone, and this team doesn’t have players who can do that. Chandler didn’t mention anyone by name, but Anthony and Smith tend to be volume shooters way too much.

"“I watched the tape myself and there’s open looks,” Chandler told Iannazzone. “We have to be willing passers. You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team, for the betterment of your teammates. So when you drive in the paint, you draw, you kick it. We need to do a better job of allowing the game to dictate who takes the shots and not the individuals.“I’m not saying that anybody is doing it maliciously. I think it’s more so a situation, you want to take over the game or you want to make a big shot, where you have to just stick to the game plan. Good teams win basketball games. Unless you’re a great, great, great individual, and we’ve only had a few of those come through.”"

The Knicks offense is a big reason why they trail their second-round series against the Indiana Pacers 2-1, but so is their defense and rebounding, which is an area that the finger can be pointed at Chandler.

But overall I have to agree with Chandler here.

The ball doesn’t move at all and the Knicks offense is very predictable. Against a very good defensive team like the Pacers, that’s not a good recipe for winning.

When you don’t move the ball, you don’t find open shooters, which was the Knicks strength all season long.

They set an NBA record by draining 891 three-pointers in the regular season. Overall, the Knicks averaged 10.9 made threes per game and took 28.9. In Game 3, they were only 3-for-11 from deep.

By moving the ball more, there will be more open looks.

Six different Knicks are averaging less shot attempts in the postseason than they did in the regular season, including Chandler, who is down to 3.9 attempts in the playoffs after averaging 6.1 in the regular season.

But while Anthony is now averaging 25.6 attempts, up from 22.2 in the regular season, I don’t necessarily believe the answer is for him to shoot less. The Knicks certainly can’t win this series with him taking only 16 attempts from the floor like he did in Game 3.

However the answer lies with what kind of shots Anthony and the Knicks are taking and that’s where Chandler’s statements have some merit.

It’s as simple as moving the ball and playing unselfish basketball.

If the Knicks don’t start doing it soon, their offseason will begin rather quickly.

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