On Labor Day, let’s take a look at the hardest workers on the New York Knicks roster.
It’s Labor Day—hopefully, you are enjoying the nice weather while keeping socially distant from your friends and family. In spirit of the holiday, I thought it would be fun to look at the hardest workers on the Knicks roster this past season.
Were there any actual “dogs” on a team that missed the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season?
In identifying the hardest working Knicks, we will rely on both the eye test, the guys who stand out as lunch-pail workers in their movements on the court, and statistics, the players who rack up the most hustle stats.
The guard who used to have funny hair was pretty good for the Knicks this season. He’s by no means the answer to their point guard problem, and he is best served in a back-up role, but you can’t argue with his production in deflecting passes, recovering loose balls, and contesting shots.
Payton led the Knicks with 2.6 deflections per game, was second to Randle in recovering loose balls (1.2), and was the second best guard behind RJ Barrett in contesting shots (5.7).
The 26-year-old finished in the 86th percentile for steal percentage among guards this past season. His “hustle” plays helped him lead the Knicks to a 7.9 better point differential with him on the court versus on the bench.
Watching Frank Ntilikina play, it’s not always obvious to notice his effort level, as he plays with a smooth style and is rarely aggressive on offense. But locking down NBA opponents isn’t an easy task, it requires hard work, and that is what Ntilikina does night-in-and-night-out.
As an example, despite being matched-up against rising superstar Luka Doncic for only 6 minutes and 36 seconds this season (18 players guarded him more frequently), Ntilikina forced the most combined turnovers and blocks (7+1) of any primary defender.
The hardest worker on the Knicks roster has to be Damyean Dotson. Seeing his minutes fluctuate throughout the season, he is always ready to enter the game and give 100% on both ends of the floor. When this guy is out there, he doesn’t just go through the motions, his feet are always moving, and you know you are getting top effort on every possession.
One of the hardest things to do is keep your shot consistent when you aren’t receiving regular looks. After playing in 73 games last year and attempting 9.6 shots per game, Dotson only found himself on the court in 48 contests this year, with his shot total decreasing to only six attempts per game. Yet, he shot at an almost identical rate from the field, 41.4% compared to 41.5%. That is a sign of someone working behind the scenes to keep himself ready for whatever minutes he receives.
Enjoy your holiday!