What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for January and and February: 5. New York Knicks

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of February 28th) :  34-20 (first place, Atlantic Division)  

This Month:

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of February 28th)

  • Points Scored: 100.3 (10th)
  • Points Allowed: 96.5 (10th)
  • Team FG%: .443 (16th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .459 (19th)
  • Team FT%: .756 (16th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .373 (6th)
  • Rebounds per game: 41.3 (21st)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 41.8 (14th)
  • Turnovers per game: 11.7 (1st)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 15.0 (13th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of February 28th)

  • Scoring (ppg): Carmelo  Anthony (28.6)
  • Rebounds per gameTyson Chandler (11.4)
  • Minutes per game:  Carmelo  Anthony (38.2)
  • Assists per game: Raymond Felton (6.0)
  • Field Goal Percentage:  Tyson Chandler (.655)
  • Free Throw Percentage:  Carmelo  Anthony (.860)
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Steve Novak (.442)
  • Steals per game: Jason Kidd (1.7)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Tyson Chandler (1.2)

Worst Player of the Month: Jason Kidd

After a splendid start of the season where he looked as if the great point man of old, Jason Kidd wore down as the season progressed as he saw his numbers take a drastic turn for the worst.  At the end of December it seemed as if Kidd's rather poor performer last season with the Dallas Mavericks was mere anomaly as many doubted that he still had anything left. Upon arriving to New York Kidd started the first half of the season on fire averaging close to ten points, four assists and four rebounds per game while shooting an astounding .452 from beyond the arc as well; however, once 2013 arrived, Kidd's shooting touch had all but disappeared as his number dropped across the board as his numbers dropped by near half by the end of January.  His ultimate low was in February where he was practically invisible as he average just 2.7 points per game while shooting an anemic .196 from the field.   Fortunately for the Knicks, Kidd's play has not dragged them down as the team still remains atop the Division and second place in the Eastern Conference standings; however, it looks bleak for the future of this future hall of famer as his career looks to come at a close.
First Player of the Month:  Tyson Chandler

Say what you want about him being a one trick pony who has no real offensive skills other than scoring put backs and recieve alley oop passes--Tyson Chandler has finally arrived and his risen to become one of the NBA's elite big men.  His play has been phenomenal thus far, especially on the boards where he averaged more than 13 per game.  At the same time he maintained a solid presence on the offensive end averaging close to ten points per game connecting on .630 of his shot attempts.  His efforts had finally been recognized when he earning his first All Star game appearance being selected by the league's coach as a reserve to represent the Eastern Conference.  Granted, at 30 years old, Chandler has shown that he will never elevate into a franchise player; however if he continues to play at the same level, he will remain a key contributor on this Knicks team and any other team that is fortunate to have his services.

As the end of the regular season comes closer with each and every game, the New York Knicks have continued to remain a dominant force in both the Eastern Conference and the league itself.  Currently , they rest comfortably on top their Atlantic Division and are second only to the current NBA Champion Miami Heat in the East.  Save for the Heat, there is virtually no one else in the East that stands in the Knicks' way as the rest of the East who are currently under them provide little or no competition whatsoever.  Their cross town rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, who were expected to challenge the Knicks for the Atlantic Division crown, have severely fallen flat on expectations while the Indiana Pacers, who currently hold the top spot in the Central Division, have also been short of impressive either.  Both the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics, two teams who owned the East last season, have fallen under hard times and are barely hanging on while the Atlanta Hawks remain as the same middle of the pack team that is headed nowhere.  With the rest of the East being a virtual joke, it is almost a no-brainer to pencil in the Knicks as the Miami Heat's opponent in the upcoming Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs; however, what is interesting about the Knicks is that although they share a near stranglehold with the Miami Heat on the East, their numbers do not match the results that they have been producing.

Despite owning the second best record in the Eastern Conference, there still remains a few issues concerning this team that can make even the most die hard Knickerbocker fans scratch their heads thus giving reason to doubt their team ability to contend for a title.  Upon closely scrutinizing the numbers that the Knicks have produced thus far, one can see quite a few statistical anomalies that show that they are not as good a team as they may appear to team.  For starters, despite ranking among the the top scoring teams in the league, their offense has been rather inefficient as they ranked in the bottom third of the league in field goal percentage.  In addition, they do not seem to be the greatest defensive team either as although they hold a +3 point margin advantage over their opponents, they still allow them to shoot the ball at a rather efficient clip at almost .460 shooting from the field.  Along with allowing their opponents to out shoot them on a regular basis, the Knicks have also being losing the battle of the board thus far this season, albeit by a rather slim 0.5 margin.

Usually when looking at teams with winning records, especially among those who sport the best records in the league, there is no such disparities--in fact it is the complete opposite.  Upon noticing the number of the top five team in the league, one would notice that they always maintain superior offensive and defensive efficiency against their opponents holding down their opponents production while scorching them on the other side of the floor.  The first place Miami Heat can be seen as a perfect example out performing their opponents while at the same time producing at a far higher efficient rate.  They outscore their opponents by a rather high margin of +7.9 points while at the same time out shoot at an impressive .496 while holding their opponents to just .440 shooting.  The only disparity that Miami has shown is that they have been out rebounded  by their opponents; however that can be attributed to them missing less shots thus limiting their opportunities to grab rebounds.

The Knicks on the other hand are completely different as they shockingly get out shot and out rebounded by their opponents, yet still manage to win their games regardless and still remain with a better record than teams who have actually conformed to the aforementioned statistical paradigm.  Usually a team that allows their opponents to not only out shoot but also out rebound them are on the opposite side of the win column; however, the Knicks by some divine fluke seem to have turn that idea on its head.  So they question remains: how have the Knicks managed to put up such an impressive record yet still allow themselves to get grossly outperformed, from a statistical standpoint, by their opponents?  It does make any real logical sense and it most definitely puts into question the Knicks ability to to win their first round series let alone be able to reach the Conference Finals to meet the Heat once the NBA playoffs get underway.  Upon looking at their numbers, one can certainly see holes in the Knicks' game plan and opponents will certainly look to exploit them once the post season arises.

No matter how well the Knicks will finish in the regular season, their ability to be a true contender still remains a huge question mark.  Although there is plenty of joy in the Big Apple of their team's record by a fan base that have suffered numerous indignities for they past few year, such numbers as their team have produced thus far do not instill much confidence from numerous observers to say the least.  They certainly do not look as a viable championship contender or even a suitable barrier for the Miami Heat if they manage to even meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.  There are so many variables that make fans think twice about backing a Knick team that has so many unsatisfactory facets that hold them back.  More than likely, instead of contenders, the Knicks may prove to not only their fans, but also the league and those in the professional sporting world, that they are more pretenders than anything else.