Will the New York Knicks offense shock the world in the NBA playoffs?

RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Frank Franklin II/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Frank Franklin II/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks
Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks: More movement – on and off the ball

The Knicks are a team of shooters. Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Derrick Rose, Reggie Bullock, Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks – This team can cycle through a lot of options along the perimeter.

It’s not just spot-up shooters. Randle, Burks, and Quickley are all guys who are able to hit difficult 3-pointers off the dribble.

Getting back to full strength will be big for the playoffs. With their recent minor injures, New York has to make adjustments, such as having to play Derrick Rose for the entire 4th quarter and overtime against the Lakers.

The Knicks are going to need to get their secondary guys involved. Not only that, they need them to play at the top of their game.

Not many teams have the “instant offense” talent off of the bench that New York does with Rose, Quickley, and Burks. It’s not just the aforementioned talent to shoot of the dribble, it’s the ability to break down defenses with ball-handling.

I’m not going to get deep into the Elfrid Payton stuff, but man, for the defenders who were already grasping at straws with the baseless “he sets the tone” or “he’s a veteran presence who Thibodeau trusts” arguments, it’s getting… sad? Is there a more profound word?

Payton has the worst defensive rating on the team. Horrible pick and roll defender, low field goal percentage at the rim, can’t shoot, slow…let me stop myself. Anyways… Let’s refocus on the team’s threats on offense.

The New York Knicks do have a lot of secondary scoring options. It’s incredibly hard for defenses to contain offenses where everyone is both a ball-handler and a shooter. New York needs to get creative with those lineups.

Get Barrett running with the 2nd unit, sprinkle in Quickley and Rose on the court together with Randle – Utilize those mismatches because the Knicks actually have the personnel on offense to create difficult defensive assignments for their opponent.

New York’s ball-handlers may not be high-level passers, but they can create easy passing lanes with their ability to dribble. The key is to make sure the ball is moving through those passing lanes.

So while New York has a wide variety of shooters and ball-handlers, the one thing they are still lacking is authority at the rim.

When you talk about the New York Knicks’ role players you don’t think of guys with elite speed who are great at finishing at the rim. It’s a team of guys who can score from just about anywhere that’s not directly under the rim.

Even the Knicks’ top scorers: Randle, Barrett, and Rose – all rank in the 23rd percentile or lower in their respective positions for field goal percentage at the rim (per Cleaning the Glass).

It seems like there are times where Randle or Barrett will be one-on-one with someone, driving to the rim, have an angle, and yet, they’re already looking for the kick-out pass for three. Just go up and take the contact! They have the strength to absorb the contact and take the hits.

If NY can get to the rim with more conviction, they can start drawing more fouls and getting teams uncomfortable. It’s only going to lead to better looks from three.

While the Knicks can try and incorporate more ball movement and penetration, let’s zoom in on the centerpiece of the team: Julius Randle.

Whoever this team plays in round-1 is going to watch a lot of Julius Randle film.

Randle is such a dominant player that a lot of the time, he’s going to figure it out on his own. Defensives have thrown a lot of different looks his way this season and he usually figures it out with a difficult shot or pass. He’s a multidimensional talent on offense.

Still, there are ways in which he can be even more effective for the playoffs.