NY Knicks: The 3 secrets to success during the 8-game win streak

Julius Randle, NY Knicks. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Julius Randle, NY Knicks. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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NY Knicks
Derrick Rose, RJ Barrett, NY Knicks.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks: Good ball movement can unlock the offense

The talk of the NY Knicks all season long has been their defense. Tom Thibodeau has historically brought a high-level defense wherever he’s been, and that’s certainly been the case for New York this season. The team has built itself around this defensive identity while the conversations about the offense have tended to be more negative than positive.

At the end of the day, this team takes pride in its defensive identity. This team is always going to play at a slower pace and try to grind out wins, but just because a team is slow does not mean that their offense is hampered. The NY Knicks rank dead last in the league in pace. The other 5 teams who round up the bottom-6 are the Heat, Nuggets, Clippers, Mavericks, and the Suns. Not bad company.

The problem for the Knicks has been their lack of ball movement. It’s an isolation-heavy offense, and while isolating Julius Randle on the low-block is a great play in spurts, you have to get more creative in today’s NBA. The Knicks have had the creative juices flowing during this win streak.

Looking at the statistic I posted earlier in the week, it shows that the Knicks have been letting the ball move more on offense. The increased passing doesn’t even suggest that the team is running more “Set plays”, but rather, the Knicks are simply looking to pass more.

Extra passes on the perimeter, skip passes, hockey assists – The ball movement has been quicker and more decisive, and it has made it more difficult for opposing defenses to rotate. Guards like Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley have been willing passers – they’ve been able to consistently find corner shooters as they drive to the rim. Over the last 8 games, the Knicks have ranked 7th in the league in true shooting percentage. More passing means more open looks.

This team will always feature isolations, but the increased ball movement has only helped them get better shots in their half-court offense. As their offense has picked up, their defense has continued to be nothing but clamps.