Knicks Getting Burned by Secondary Players

Chris Herring continues to do a lot of interesting work over at the Wall Street Journal, and his piece this morning points out the way in which the Knicks have routinely given up big games to secondary players, allowing a host of marginal players to double their season scoring averages in games against them:

Entering Friday’s game here, the Knicks had allowed 21 players — all of whom tally at least 6 points per game — to log at least double their nightly scoring average. When the threshold is upped to players who score at least 10 points per outing, the Knicks have let 12 opposing players to double their average scoring output.

It’s unclear how much, if at all, allowing such big games correlates to winning and losing. The Knicks have posted a 10-10 record when an opposing player scores double his season average. A pair of winning teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls, lead the league in giving up big performances, while several losing teams—including the Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings—are also high on the list.

Brian DiMenna

There’s some part of this that’s a good thing, right? The idea being your defense is keying on the opposing team’s stars and forcing the role players to beat you. But it would be easier to believe that this is somehow by design, if it didn’t seem more to come from all the incessant switching and needless doubling the Knicks do on defense on a nightly basis. Honesty, this just seems to be more the result that the Knicks’ guards are routinely getting beat off the dribble, to go with the fact that they’re switching off even the illusion of an impending screen, and are often left just totally scrambling as some previously unknown seventh man finds himself the recipient of a bevy of open looks.

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