New York Knicks: 10 Keys to Making the Playoffs

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Thanasis Antetokounmpo

could be the wing defender New York needs to limit dribble penetration. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

4. Protect the Paint

The New York Knicks committed $54 million to center Robin Lopez. For as skilled an offensive player as he may be, the basis for the signing was the edge Lopez provides on defense.

Come 2015-16, the Knicks will task Lopez with providing an immediate impact defensively.

According to, New York allowed opponents to shoot 42.1 percent from 5-to-9 feet away. That mark ranked No. 29 in the NBA and played heavily into the Knicks ranking No. 28 in defensive efficiency.

Simply put, teams scored at will against the Knicks.

Protecting the rim is big, but controlling the paint will be an even bigger task for New York. Not only are opponents finishing at the rim, but they’re opening the perimeter with drive-and-dish facilitators.

For New York to make the playoffs, the perimeter players must prevent dribble-penetration and the big must redirect shots—exactly what Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis are equipped to do.

Next: The Beauty of the Garden