Part of the New York Knicks’ improved play has come at the offensive end.
The New York Knicks are 3-3 under interim head coach Mike Miller; a stark improvement from David Fizdale, who had just four wins in the 22 games he coached. Add that they just dropped 143 points against the Hawks.
The record has been good but it is more about the Knicks’ on-court product. They look like a totally different team, that can actually compete with the other 29 teams in the NBA. So what has Miller done to change the Knicks?
The most obvious is the offense, and all Miller needed to incorporate was ball movement. Fizdale preached a heavy isolation offense, lacking any creativity. He did not make any changes and instead dug his heels deeper.
Miller, on the other hand, has run more movement with passing and more off-ball movement, playing to the strengths of the team. Getting Kevin Knox moving off the ball being a threat as a perimeter scorer, or making Marcus Morris and Julius Randle initiate the offense from the block or on the wing instead of being the guy bringing the ball down the court, has made a big difference. Players are cutting, and there are more passing and less standing around which shows in the numbers; The Knicks are averaging 23.2 assists under Miller, a bump up by over 4 assists from Fizdale. This has led to the Knicks scoring 9 more points a game, which has translated to the 3-3 record.
The Knicks are also 3-1 in their first four games, and they lead the NBA in offensive efficiency in that span, at 119 points per 100 possessions. The 143 they scored against Atlanta is the most score by the Knicks in the last 10 years.
Fizdale’s Knicks were also last in offensive efficiency at 101.9 over the 22 games he coached. The team has also averaged 24.8 assists during the four games, and the 24 assists were only reached twice under Fizdale in the first 22 games. Simply put, Miller is getting more from this roster.
However, six games is a small sample size. Elfrid Payton also just returned from injury. His playmaking at the point guard position was something Fizdale could have used.
Mike Miller has made the Knick fans buzzing again, as the team is actually to watch again. This is still not a playoff team, but they finally look like a group worth following. Can this be kept up?