3. Defensive improvement
Defense proved troublesome through multiple coaching eras of the New York Knicks, from Mike D’Antoni to Derek Fisher to Jeff Hornacek, it remained a problem and did not help that Carmelo Anthony, while a superstar on offense, was never held in a high defensive regard.
For David Fizdale, he will not only look to spearhead player development but a new-look defense for the 2018-19 season.
The Knicks were not a disaster defensively in 2017-18, but allowing 108 points per game compared to the 104.5 they scored does not equate well. That includes teams shooting 36.8 percent against them from three-point range.
Most of the roster had a Defensive Rating above 110, as well, aside from Enes Kanter, Kristaps Porzingis (hurt mid-season) and Kyle O’Quinn (no longer with the team) and others who did not play enough to make an impact.
In Fizdale’s lone full season with the Memphis Grizzlies, the 2016-17 squad allowed just 100 points per game, and good for third in the NBA. While Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen were among the players on that roster, it still represents Fizdale’s ability to coach a top defense, something the Knicks brass may expect down the road.
The Knicks defense might not become a top group overnight, but look for improvement as the 2018-19 season deepens.