Every weekday morning throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: How will Jared Jeffries' short-term absence impact the Knicks?
Against the Sixers Wednesday night, the Knicks' backup center aggravated his right knee, which caused him to miss four straight games in early March due to soreness, and he had to get it drained twice. Now, Jeffries will miss Friday night's game in Toronto and possibly Saturday as well, when the Knicks host the Pistons.
Here are three areas where the Knicks need Jeffries:
1.) Defensively. While the stats show that Jeffries' impact on defense hasn't been as significant during the Knicks' five-game winning streak, that's a big credit to the starters putting the clamp down earlier in the first quarter and maintaining that hold throughout the game. But the season numbers prove that Jeffries is a big part of what the Knicks do defensively, especially guarding the screener in pick-and-rolls and altering shots by the basket. Here's a breakdown:
Knicks With And Without Jeffries On The Court Per 48 Minutes This Season
With | Without
Defensive efficiency -- 95.0 | 99.6 (lower the better)
Opponents' field goal percentage -- 43.0 | 44.8
Opponents' effective field goal percentage -- 45.6 | 46.8
Opponents' turnover percentage -- 20.1 | 16.9 (higher the better)
Source: ESPN Stats & Info
2.) Offensive rebounding. In the last five games with Jeffries' on the court, the Knicks had a 34.8 offensive rebounding rate (compared to a 31.1 without hm). For the season, the Knicks have a slight advantage with Jeffries on the court (a 26.9 offensive rebounding rate vs. 26.6 when he's not in the game).
In the Knicks' last five games, the increased offensive rebounding has led to more second-chance scoring. Their 13.0 offensive boards per game (sixth-best in the NBA during that stretch) has ignited them to score 15.2 second-chance points per game (also sixth-best in the league). Jeffries is a great backup to Chandler because he maintains that same high level of aggressiveness as soon as he enters the game. Chandler and Jeffries are two of the most serious, no-nonsense guys on the team and it comes through in the way they play right away.
3.) Taking charges*. Jeffries is far and away the best Knick at taking charges. He has 10 charges drawn on the season (separate category from offensive fouls, while Chandler is second with three. Below are the top five leaders on the Knicks and a breakdown of the NBA's best in this category.
Knicks' Charges Drawn Leaders
10 -- Jared Jeffries
3 -- Tyson Chandler
2 -- Jeremy Lin
2 -- J.R. Smith
2 -- Amare Stoudemire
NBA Charges Drawn Leaders
29 -- DeMarcus Cousins (Kings)
18 -- Nick Collison (Thunder)
16 -- Marc Gasol (Grizzlies)
16 -- Jermaine O'Neal (Celtics)
15 -- Marcin Gortat (Suns)
14 -- Thaddeus Young (Sixers)
13 -- Udonis Haslem (Heat)
12 -- Ivan Johnson (Hawks)
12 -- Jason Maxiell (Pistons)
12 -- Markieff Morris (Suns)
12 -- Luis Scola (Rockets)
12 -- Marreese Speights (Grizzlies)
12 -- John Wall (Wizards)
Source: The Elias Sports Bureau
*This does not include total offensive fouls drawn. Jeffries has 24 of those on the season.
Where do you think Jeffries' absence will be felt the most looking ahead? Leave us your comments below.
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