The Knicks are quietly one of the best shooting teams in the NBA

NY Knicks (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
NY Knicks (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

The Knicks have a well-acknowledged reputation as a tough, physical defensive team. As we all know, this reputation is something that their head coach Tom Thibodeau has brought with him wherever he’s been.

The no-nonsense culture that Thibodeau and his staff have brought to this team is an attitude that also reminds fans of the New York basketball’s last Golden Era. The Patrick Ewing-led Knicks of the 1990s has become something of a team with something of a cult remembrance. A team that fans across the world grew to love for their toughness and smashmouth style that was associated with both the team and the city of New York itself.

It’s been a fun team to be around – one that very much plays hard not just for themselves but for their teammates and their city. Even with the Knicks’ success this season, you’ll still hear some “pretender” talk come down from the peanut gallery.

I don’t think anyone denies New York’s tough defense, but there seems to be a lack of recognition for their offense. There is praise, no doubt. Yet it still feels like, for players like RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, statisticians are waiting for their inevitable “regression”.

Even with coach Thibodeau, people still seem to be stuck on the “stubborn” label or that he isn’t able to coach up a “modern offense”. Well here we are heading to game #68 of the season, and… we’re still waiting for the team to “slow down.”

The Knicks have been an elite shooting team

Let’s just start with the most basic statistic: The Knicks are 2nd in the NBA in team 3-point field goal percentage at 39.0%.

As a team, they shoot the 2nd fewest 3-pointers game. New York is the slowest-paced team in the NBA, so they really do not get as many shots up per game as others.

How could a team whose three primary scorers are Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Derrick Rose be such a high-level shooting team? All three are shooting above 40% from 3 this season with the Knicks.

Do I think some of these players’ numbers will regress? Maybe? I’m not sure – we are a week away from the end of the regular season after all. Seems to me like Barrett will beat you with 3 different levels of scoring.

Give credit to the coaching staff as well. Can the offense be isolation-heavy and anemic at times? Absolutely, but it’s not always the case.

When it’s at its best, this team’s half-court offense will have the ball flying around the perimeter. Whether it starts with a Julius Randle whip pass or some Derrick Rose and RJ Barrett drives to the paint, this team has been more than willing to share the rock and make extra passes to find shooters.

This team isn’t afraid to go to the rim. They’re decisive in their decision-making.

The large amount of high-percentage looks is reflected in some of the team’s sky-high catch-and-shoot 3-point percentages. Since April first, these are some of the Knicks’ individual catch-and-shoot 3-point percentages: Quickley – 59.4%, Rose 51.7%, Barrett 50.0%, Bullock 43.5%, Payton 42.9%, Randle 41.2%. Ok, maybe they’ll regress a little bit.

Bottom-line, this team will punch you in the mouth on both sides of the floor. They’re not just a scrappy team that compensates for a lack of “skill”. This team is both scrappy and skilled. They’re an ascending team who will cook you on offense if you fall asleep.

The Knicks’ offense has only gotten better as the season has gone along. Lockdown defense and knockdown shooting are a formula for postseason success. Look out.

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