The fellas over at Vantage Sports, a newish stat collecting outfit of some kind, ran some interesting data on which NBA teams employ the switch to defend the pick-and-roll most often, you will likely not be surprised by some of the results:
The Knicks, under Mike Woodson and Mike D’Antoni, have been the most likely team in the league to switch defensive assignments on a ball screen. This is for good reason, as they are also the team with the most “good” defensive plays on switches. They aren’t masterful at forcing turnovers or contesting shots, they simply don’t allow shots; no event occurs on 52 percent of their switches.
On some level this is sort of encouraging, I don’t think it would come as a surprise to anyone that the Knicks switch on the pick-and-roll more than anyone else in the league, but it’s at least nice to know that there’s a bit of wisdom behind this considering they also do it better than anyone in the league.
That being said, I’d still like to see them use this tactic more sparingly. They do get hurt quite a bit by the mismatches it creates, and there are times when you simply have to ask your perimeter defenders to fight through screens. If it turns out we’re switching effectively, that’s wonderful, but I don’t think that necessarily means the Knicks have to rely on it quite as much as they do.