2. Spread out the offense
When Phil Jackson took over the New York Knicks front office, he forced the triangle offense as the team’s style; it worked with Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal on the Los Angeles Lakers. In the Big Apple, though, this style never worked as planned, even with Carmelo Anthony, as Jackson brought in coaches to run variations of it.
The 2017-18 also stagnated. As Tommy Beer of Forbes noted, 62.1 percent of New York’s points were off two-point field goals and 73.4 percent of their shot attempts came from two-pointers. That’s an outdated style of basketball and only something San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich can pull off.
David Fizdale must look to change this offensive identity in 2018-19, to provide a greater emphasis on perimeter shooting, even if some of the youngsters are not prolific from this range yet.
Kristaps Porzingis’ presence would help this, as opposing defenses double-cover him to open others on the perimeter. This may not happen to start the season, so it places pressure on Fizdale and the roster to find their shots from long range and compete with some of the NBA’s dynamic offenses.
It also ties to the growth of young players. Can Fizdale lead Frank Ntilikina to stronger shooting numbers? Will Kevin Knox continue his summer success and find his stroke from behind the arc? What about Mario Hezonja’s presence as a budding shooter?
If Fizdale can spread the offense beyond a heavy dosage of two-pointers, the Knicks could make more noise on the stat sheet and stay competitive against the upper-echelon offense, even if wins do not come easy.